Ernst Middendorp is pleased with how his players have been performing so far this season. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Ernst Middendorp is pleased with how his players have been performing so far this season. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Middendorp happy with players who have stepped up

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published Oct 14, 2019

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Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp is delighted with the way a number of players have come out of their shells but insists there’s still a long way to go.

There’s only been eight games played in the 2019/20 Premiership season, but Chiefs have made the most commanding statement, sitting comfortably in pole position with 19 points out of 24.

Amakhosi’s resurgence this term follows a poor run for the team over the past few years.

However, their newly-found rich vein of form has suggested that the glory days may be close to engulfing Naturena once again, especially with coach Ernst Middendorp having started the term with a clean bill of health.

On Saturday, the Amakhosi faithful were given a taste of how sweet success used to be, Middendorp’s troops hammering Mamelodi Sundowns 4-2 to bag the 2019 edition of the Shell Helix Ultra Cup at FNB Stadium.

“These types of clubs, they don’t play friendlies. The purpose of the game is to score, and not to concede to many goals, to score more than conceding, in 90 minutes,” Middendorp said.

The Helix Ultra Cup is not the kind of trphy Chiefs want to be winning, but Middendorp and the club’s faithful will enjoy the resurrection of Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro combination, which sent Chiefs into a healthy 4-0 at half-time, before goals from second half substitutes Ali Meza and Gaston Sirino made the scoreline respectable for the Premiership champions.

Castro, together with Dumisani Zuma, and Philani Zulu, were the unfamiliar faces in Chiefs’ starting line-up against a somewhat second choice Sundowns team due to the Fifa break.

The German tactician is pleased that almost all of his squad is stepping-up to the plate ahead of what will be a gruelling couple of months in the domestic season.

“We are aware that we have quality players that have not really done the job or really have had the chance to play in the last games,” Middendorp said.

“I know the value of Samir (Nurkovic), Reeve (Frosler), George (Maluleka), Itu (Khune) and so on, but I am very happy about this showing and competitiveness. We have another week to prepare before we play next Saturday (in the Telkom Knockout last 16 clash against Cape Town City). I personally enjoy it very much when I have a number of players with certain qualities, not just in the so-called first Xl.”

Despite recent impressive exploits, Middendorp feels that there’s still a room for improvement before they become a well-oiled machine.

“I am not getting carried away in terms of getting the results today. We have to chat about certain moments of the game, in terms of the transition and the attacking,” he said.

“We have a very clear understanding of what was good and what can be better. We are happy about the result of the game. It was a very well organised Shell Helix Ultra Cup and Stadium Management South Africa.”

Heading into their Telkom Knockout clash against City at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, the Glamour Boys will be the most invigorated side having played the Helix Ultra Cup and Macufe Cup this previous weekend.


The Star

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