Ernst Middendorp will have to dig deep to find solutions for his Kaizer Chiefs team during the FIFA international break that runs from November 12 – 19.
Amakhosi, who are flying at the moment, meet Maritzburg United in the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout on Sunday, November 24, at Mbombela Stadium.
With Chiefs having won their last 8 matches across all competitions including some on penalties, a lot would be expected from them when they host the Team of Choice.
Maritzburg, however, will be no pushovers having gone seven matches without a defeat (5 wins including two on penalties, as well as two draws).
The first issue on hand for Middendorp is working on who’s going to come in for Eric Mathoho, Willard Katsande and Daniel Akpeyi, who are all suspended for the next match.
Mathoho picked up a red card in their 3-2 Absa Premiership win over Orlando Pirates, while Katsande and Akpeyi picked up their fourth yellow cards this season, meaning they have to serve a one-match suspension.
“We must prepare ourselves to be successful in this game,” noted Middendorp.
The second matter to deal with is, with their international stars away, ensuring that other players who are returning from injury like Kearyn Baccus are in tip-top condition when Chiefs face Maritzburg.
“It’s related to this next game, simple and easy, looking into bringing some players back like Kearyn Baccus,” Middendorp stated.
He’s also looking at players who haven’t been getting game time like Ramahlwe Mphahlele.
“Rama is so far at the moment in terms of preparedness… it’s our duty to pay attention individually to players like Rama, Baccus and other players to bring them to the same level (as the regulars),” he added.
The Chiefs players away on national duty include Lazarous Kambole (Zambia), Akpeyi (Nigeria), Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe), Lebogang Manyama and Mathoho (both SA).
By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa