JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp is adamant that there won’t be time to experiment new combinations in the Nedbank Cup as they are looking to bring back the glory days to Naturena.
The Glamour Boys are enduring a three-year trophy-less spell, but their Nedbank Cup campaign that starts on Sunday against minnows Tornado FC will give them a chance of breaking that run.
“We are not messing around by taking a second line-up, by resting this player and that one, no! We are definitely bringing each and every body that is fully available into the squad and the field,” Middendorp said as he referred to the importance of setting the tone from the onset.
It’s been barely two months since Middendorp returned for his second stint with the Glamour Boys, and there have been more positives than negatives
In their last seven games there has been a sense of growth. Added to that fact is that they’ve won three league matches out of four, while the other game was against champions Mamelodi Sundowns in their first encounter of 2019.
Chiefs lost that match, but their performances won the hearts of many. Fast forward and after four games, the number of intakes in the medical room piled up as they lost integral players payers such as Itumeleng Khune, Philani Zulu, Lebogang Manyama, Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Eric Mathoho.
Although that resulted in them bouncing out of the Caf Confederation Cup, they bagged back-to-back wins against leaders Bidvest Wits and AmaZulu with minimal resources.
“We had a number of resources (to compete),” Middendorp said of their disappointment in the African safari.
"For instance, Kgotso Moleko was not in the plans at all before, he was just dropped to the side. Nobody was working with him but we made sure not to make the same mistakes. We are trying to look internally because basically at this time there are no players that are on the market. Our main job is to give the players that are here the attention.”
The German tactician is not a stranger to winning trophies for the Glamour Boys. During his first stint from 2005-2007, he won two, the SAA Supa8 and Absa Cup - which are now known as the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup respectively.
The last time Chiefs bagged the Ke Yona Cup was in 2013 under the tutelage of Stuart Baxter. The 60-year-old coach reckons that doing well in this year’s competition can propel them to a better start next season.
“Of course, there’s frustration when a brand like Kaizer Chiefs doesn’t even pick up one competition,” Middendorp said.
“As a player and coach there’s no need to ask the mandate because that’s very clear. You do your best, put everything day in and out and (you’ll be rewarded).
There’s still a long way to go before the end of the season, and I am convinced about (the change of fortunes)," said the coach who also worked at Maritzburg United and Chippa United.@Mihlalibaleka