Chiefs up for Baroka test
Middendorp’s troops have got off to an impressive start and have 13 points, having won four matches out of six.
And that was done without the coach really knowing what his first XI was.
Middendorp, moreover, is upbeat about the return of regulars such as Eric Mathoho and with how newbies Samir Nurkovic, Kearyn Baccus and Lazarous Kambole have seamlessly adapted to his philosophy.
Baccus, notably, has been impressive of late as he aced his midfield duties in their 2-0 win over AmaZulu on Tuesday, somehow pushing Willard Katsande, who’s been the team’s anchor, down the pecking order.
The German tactician, however, says it would be too soon to say he’s got a clear understanding of his starting line-up, citing that everyone has to wait patiently for his chance to play.
“The team is functional and some players have to wait and be patient,,” Middendorp stated.
“Let’s look at certain players, they’ll have to wait and be patient sometimes. (Itumeleng) Khune was No 2 for almost five weeks. Lazarous Kambole tried to get in (but showed signs of fatigue). We are aware of it. He didn’t have a break. He had a four-day rest and was into the pre-season, so he had a bit of a handicap. Give him time. There are other players that are still waiting for their chances.”
After a six-month injury, captain and goalkeeper Khune made his highly anticipated return to competitive football against Usuthu, beefing up what’s already been an impressive defensive contingent following the return of Matholo at the start of the season.
That back-five will be hoping to keep another clean sheet when Chiefs welcome Baroka FC at the FNB Stadium tomorrow (6pm kick-off).
Defence hasn't been an issue all season, but Middendorp would like a better return out of his attacking force, which has netted nine times in six games.