When Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp left the room at the end of the Soweto Derby post match press conference at FNB Stadium on Saturday, he shook his head.
The German didn’t look too pleased with his counterpart coach Rulani Mokwena of Orlando Pirates.
Naturally, Middendorp would have been smiling, because his side had just won 3-2 to go ten points clear at the top of the Absa Premiership log.
But at the presser, it was clear from the onset that the derby clash had spilled over to the front of the rolling cameras.
The main issue centred around what Mokwena alleged was “thuggish behaviour” from the Chiefs players as well as the disputed penalty, which FARPost.co.za covered in a previous story titled ‘Mokwena, Parker and the swimming pool story’.
THE ALLEGED THUGGISH BEHAVIOUR!!!
Mokwena: “Yeah, it was a good advert for football, I think, if you minus all the drama and some of the thuggish behaviour then I think it’s a good advert for football; two very good teams going at each other,” said Mokwena, insisting that Chiefs players displayed a “thuggish behaviour” and that’s why Eric Mathoho was sent off. “But I hear coach Middendorp say he doesn’t know what happened with the red card. I’ve watched it again and I think it’s not just Mathoho that should have been sent off. It’s thuggish behaviour and it doesn’t belong on the pitch,” he insisted. “Even with (Willard) Katsande’s tackle on Fortune Makaringe in the first half… over the top, career threatening tackle and thuggish as well, you know. So those are some of the situations… those things don’t belong in South African football. I’ve got a player bleeding now, because he was punched on the face. Kaizer Chiefs is good enough to beat us on tactics, on personell, a well-coached team – excellent, but not on diving and not on thugging behaviour – not on boxing. On boxing, we don’t train boxing.”
In response, Middendorp suggested a few things. He mentioned that FIFA introduced yellow and red cards to deal with players who step out of line.
He also mentioned that in a match of this magnitude as the Soweto Derby, tensions could potentially rise.
Middendorp:“That is why, over the decades, the institution of FIFA introduced yellow cards, fouls, penalties and introduced all the stuff for when something happens. I think Fortune Makaringe and Katsande was quite a heavy duel, there’s no doubt about it. It’s not to deny, but I spoke to Eric and he said he was just on the way to really protect his own players – to protect the group going at each other and somebody fell part apart (referring to Abel Mabaso, who was pushed by Mathoho).
“… you’d see it probably in the Liverpool/Manchester City match (on Sunday) at 18:00 kick off… that’s a normal way, in particular if it’s a Derby.”
Orlando Pirates coach Rulani Mokwena has suggested that Bernard Parker dived to win Kaizer Chiefs a penalty that proved decisive in Saturday’s Soweto Derby.
With eight minutes remaining, Parker was brought down by Paseka Mako with the two rivals deadlocked at 2-2.
Daniel Cardoso stepped up to convert the penalty for Chiefs’ 3-2 win.
In the post match press conference, the situation was tense between Mokwena and Chiefs mentor, Ernst Middendorp, to say the least.
Mokwena and Middendorp couldn’t agree on anything, including the penalty incident.
Mokwena insisted: “… Parker goes and gets a swimming pool (to dive in).
“But we can’t talk too much about it. Like I said to you, I’ve gone inside (the dressing room) and I’ve watched it time and time again.”
Mokwena appeared to play the issue on Middendorp’s mind, urging the German to watch the incident again.
“My (video) analysts have shown me all the incidents and I know coach Ernst does his homework,” Mokwena continued.
“I know he’s gonna watch the (penalty) incident also and he’s honest and a man of integrity.
“I think he’s gonna accept some of the things that happened on the pitch, as a man of integrity and as an honest gentleman that I respect,” added Mokwena.
In response, Middendorp was adamant that Chiefs “fully deserved” the penalty.
Mokwena and Middendorp also disagreed on Eric Mathoho’s red card.
While Mokwena insisted that Mathoho and company displayed a “thuggish” behaviour, Middendorp said he had spoken to Mathoho, who insisted to him that he was protecting his teammates when a fought broke out towards the end of the match.
Mathoho was sent off late in the match for what appeared to be a push on Abel Mabaso.
Football fanatics will be treated to yet another Soweto Derby at the FNB Stadium, as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates do battle again this afternoon (3.30pm).
The two sides met last weekend in the quarterfinals of the Telkom Knockout, which saw Amakhosi advance through to the semis after managing to beat the Buccaneers 4-2 on penalties at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban.
Pirates head into Saturday’s encounter with mounting pressure on coach Rhulani to collect maximum points, with his side a massive 12 points behind nemesis, Chiefs, who are top of the log with 25 points.
Chiefs are on song at the moment, winning 8 of their last 10 matches.
FARPost.co.za selects some key players for this clash.
‘Tower’ has been excellent in Chiefs’ defence this season and has contributed immensely for them to have kept five clean sheets in their last five matches. Not only is he capable of keeping the strikers at bay, but he has the energy to go up and down, which has seen him score two goals in 11 matches.
The former Cape Town City captain seems to have found his feet at Naturena and is enjoying his game, which has seen him bag a couple of Man of the Match awards this season. With three goals and two assists from 11 appearances, Manyama is showing the kind of form that won him the 2016/17 PSL Footballer of the Season accolade.
For those that have been following his game from his days at Ajax Cape Town, the forward always appear to step up his game against the Buccaneers. He’s no doubt a player you’d need to keep an eye on this afternoon.
The left back has the responsibility to cut out attacks from Billiat and Manyama, depending who’s having a go at him from Chiefs’ right wing. Maela will also have to help out in Pirates’ attack considering his overlapping runs from the left side. In a tight match – like the Derby has proven many times – it could be a cross that leads to a goal and Maela would have to be spot on from his deliveries.
In the centre of the park, it would be vital that he steps up his game. With the likes of Willard Katsande lurking from the opposition, Pirates would depend on the likes of Makaringe to fight their cause.
Lorch, who returns from suspension after sitting out their clash against Maritzburg United, may portray a different type of hunger when he makes a return. The 26-year-old has already been on the scoresheet against Amakhosi a couple of times and seems to enjoy having a go at them.
Who will claim the three points and bragging rights?
Having conceded four goals less than they did at this stage last season, Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat has credited the team’s defence for the team’s good form this season.
Amakhosi are front runners for the Absa Premiership title leading the pack with 25 points from 10 games.
At this stage last season Amakhosi had won 3 from 10 matches scoring 13 goals, but their impressive run this season has seen the Soweto giants collecting maximum points in 8 of their 10 matches, scoring 16 goals.
Billiat who has had a decent start to the season himself with 1 goal and 2 assists says the players understand coach Ernst Middendorp better now than they did last season.
“I really need to give credit to our defence line; our organisation is something that we have mastered very well. We don’t concede as we used to, and we don’t concede easy goals as we used to,” said Billiat ahead of their Soweto Derby clash against Orlando Pirates.
Chiefs have kept five clean sheets in their last five League matches.
“We just started understanding each other better and to understand the coach’s philosophy better right now.
“It took us a little bit of time, but I think we are getting into it and we really look like a team right now. We are more united now and when you are in a good space everything just starts flowing,” he said.
“I think that’s one thing that we didn’t get right when the coach arrived (11 months ago) and we never really knew how our roles are in certain moments and like I said, we are starting to understand more better and things that we thought are difficult for us are becoming so easy and through hard word and paying attention to details everything seem to be working for us and we just hope it will work for quite a long time,” added Billiat.
Chiefs will come up against a Pirates side this weekend that is not only struggling to score goals, but has conceded the second highest number of goals behind Cape Town City.
The Buccaneers have netted 12 and conceded 13 in 10 matches.
Kaizer Chiefs’ clash with Maritzburg United in the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout will be played at Mbombela Stadium.
The Premier Soccer League confirmed the dates and venues for the last four this afternoon.
Amakhosi’s match against The Team of Choice has been scheduled for Sunday, November 24. Kick off time is 15:00.
The quest for a spot in the #TKO2019Final will begin on Saturday, November 23 when Golden Arrows host Mamelodi Sundowns at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.
Abafana Bes’thende will be aiming to reach their first ever Telkom Knockout final, while the Brazilians will be hoping to qualify for their first final since winning the competition in 2015. Kick-off will also be at 15h00.
From the stats box, there is one very important thing that Kaizer Chiefs are doing right at the moment in their quest to win the 2019/2020 Absa Premiership title.
If you look at the past few seasons, especially when Mamelodi Sundowns won the league, you’d realise that they had the best away form compared to any team.
This is exactly what Chiefs are doing right this season. It’s certainly a big improvement, specifically on this, in comparison to how they played away in the past campaigns.
Chiefs have won all five of their away matches this season beating Chippa United (2-0), Sundowns (2-0), AmaZulu (2-0), Cape Town City (2-1) and Highlands Park (3-2). If they don’t drop the ball, this would augur well in their title push.
… and this is why
When Sundowns won the League last season – their second title in a row, they were the best team away with 10 wins, 4 draws and 1 defeat (a total of 34 points away).
During the 2017/18 campaign, Pitso Mosimane’s men were also the best team away, with the same statistics as above (10 wins, 4 draws and 1 defeat).
Sundowns also had the best away from in the 2016/17 season with 27 points, but lost out on the title to eventual winners Bidvest Wits, who were the second best team away with 23 points.
During the 2015/16 season, Sundowns were the title winners and guess what? They had the best away form with 33 points from 15 matches (10 wins, 3 draws and 2 defeats).
Chiefs were the league winners in 2014/15 and you guessed it right, they had the best away form with 35 points (11 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses).
In four out of the last five seasons, the Absa Premiership team that had the best away form won the league.
Of course you still have to do well in your own backyard, but winning away shows that the mentality is right – you believe you can win anywhere and not just when you are at home.
So how have Chiefs improved away from home looking at the last five seasons?
2019/2020: 5 wins out of 5 = 15 points (best team away at the moment)
2018/19: 4 wins, 7 draws & 4 losses = 19 points (sixth best team away)
2017/18: 7 wins, 5 draws & 3 losses = 26 points (second best team away)
2016/17: 5 wins, 4 draws & 6 losses = 19 points (sixth best team away)
2015/16: 5 wins, 8 draws & 2 defeats = 23 points (fourth best team away)
*At the rate Chiefs are going, they’ve put themselves in a good position.
CHIEFS’ NEXT THREE LEAGUE MATCHES AWAY…
Stellenbosch v Chiefs, November 27
Maritzburg United v Chiefs, December 22
SuperSport United v Chiefs, January 4
As things stand, Chiefs haven’t done their chances of winning the title any harm at all.