JOHANNESBURG – Ernst Middendorp is hoping that his strikers bring their scoring boots to tomorrow’s home PSL clash against Cape Town City.
The Kaizer Chiefs coach was bitterly disappointed by his team’s finishing in their 1-0 defeat of third tier Tornado FC in their Nedbank Cup round of 32 clash at the weekend.
Amakhosi progressed courtesy of an own goal by the opposition to leave the German considering introducing a special program to aid his strikers’ potency.
“My biggest concern at the moment is the finishing from the second line, when we get the cut-back chances because there’s not enough power,” he said.
And against a City side that booked their place in the Nedbank Cup last 16 by beating SuperSport United 2-0, Middendorp knows his team will have their work cut out for them.
“We definitely have to be at our best,” Middendorp said. “I saw them on Saturday in Cape Town and I had seen them before. They have a very structured way and I can understand what they are capable of. They have a quick transition, and so are their players.”
It is for this reason he is rather looking forward to tomorrow night’s match as the opposition is a familiar foe, unlike the unknown entity that was Tornado on Sunday.
“In general it is a difficult job to play against a defensively compact team,” Middendorp said.
Still, he acknowledged that a team of Chiefs’ quality should have found a way to play Tornado off the park.
“We had our chances to pull defenders apart but we didn’t make them count. (But) I am aware of it, and we definitely have to design a program in training sessions so that we can bring the players into this scenario.”
That failure saw them taken to extra time and even during that half an hour of extended play, the once Mighty Amakhosi could not find the opposition net themselves as Abongile Twani scored an own goal.
It was not all gloom though as fringe players such as Gustavo Paez, Siphelele Ntshangase, Dumisani Zuma and Bhongolwethu Jayiya returned to action after a long absence.
However, it was youngster Happy Mashiane who stole the spotlight on debut. Mashiane, who has been in the senior team for just a week following promotion from the reserves, made the starting XI in the left wing-back role.
He didn’t disappoint, as he fitted in like a seasoned-campaigner with good runs on and off the ball. He even received a round of applause from the crowd in the sold-out Sisa Dukashe Stadium when he made way for Zuma in the last 15 minutes of regulation time.
“We saw potential in him. We said it before, he was on the field not because we want to promote or send a message to the public but because he deserved to be there,” Middendorp said.
“I believe we definitely have a fantastic new signing. Hopefully he’ll continue to work hard, keep his feet on the ground and not get carried away.”@Mihlalibaleka