Middendorp and Chiefs staying grounded
It’s been four months of bliss in Naturena as Chiefs bounced back from the disappointment of finishing ninth in the Premiership and losing a cup final to second-tier TS Galaxy last term to be leading the top-flight this campaign.
However, following this impressive start, it appears as though some of the people associated with the club - the management, players and supporters - feel that they are untouchable and come May 2020 they are certain to have ended their four-year trophy drought.
The German coach hasn’t taken kindly to those predictions. After losing in the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout to Maritzburg United on Sunday, he was unhappy that his players underestimated the Team of Choice.
Yesterday, speaking after he and goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi completed a double by scooping the Absa Premiership Coach and Player of the Month for September/October awards, Middendorp reiterated that he was staying humble.
“If we start getting carried away and we don’t have our feet on the ground then we’ll lose what’s basic, keeping the balance and being hungry,” he said.
“If we start disrespecting our opponents and other teams in the league, then we’ll make it difficult for ourselves. We already have a status as Kaizer Chiefs, where everybody is giving 100 percent, and the additional two percent when they play us.”
On Wednesday, the German tactician and his troops dusted themselves off from the surprise loss to Maritzburg and bounced back as they defeated Stellenbosch FC 4-0 away in the league.
That win ensured that Chiefs further extended their lead at the summit of the log to 10 points, ahead of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns
But Middendorp maintains that they should stay vigilant.
“We should be humble, remember where we come from in the past years, and knowing where we finished last season,” he said.
“We still have a lot of work to do in order to make the management, owners and board of directors, proud. But that’s not for now.
“It’s not the right point and situation to get carried away. Let’s be humble.”
Chiefs will play their next league match against Bloemfontein Celtic at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on December 7, and they’ll use the 10-day break to regenerate and bank on the return of players such as Khama Billiat and Eric Mathoho from the medical room.@mihlalibaleka