Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp. Photo: Kaizer Chiefs media

JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp says he is satisfied with how the pre-season camp has been going ahead of their friendly match against Botswana’s Township Rollers on Saturday at the Jamali Stadium in Tlokweng.

However, he admitted he did have some concerns.

“We find ourselves with some of our key players missing due to their duty in the Afcon tournament. We are not complaining but it is a challenge for us preparing for the new season without some of the guys. 

Subscribe to the IOL Sport Newsletter!

“For instance, we needed Daniel Cardoso and ‘Rama’ Mphahlele, because we were working on our defensive stuff,” he added.

Seven Kaizer Chiefs players were called up by various associations to represent their countries at the Africa Cup of Nations.

“We have been working hard for the past few days and I’m happy with the response from some of the players,” he added. 

“It is good that we do not have any serious injuries and some of the guys who were injured last season are on their way back to full recovery.”

Some of the players whose countries have already been knocked out of tournament, have been given time off as they did not get any rest after the end of last season.

Khama Billiat is the only international player that is back in the team as Zimbabwe were knocked out in the first round of the continental showpiece. His fellow countryman Teenage Hadebe has moved to Turkey.

“We have been keeping in touch with the technical and medical teams of the various national teams to check on our players and so far, there are no injury worries. 

“We hope more players will join us soon and will be with us when we travel to Botswana on Friday,” the coach continued.

On the new players’ integration into the team, Middendorp said: “The four new guys have been working hard and we believe they will adapt quickly to our system and hit the ground running, because we don’t have much time.

“We have been working on the players’ mental strength and teamwork which will see them communicate better in all departments.” 

African News Agency (ANA)