“What is important to understand that this is a collective effort,” said Ernst Middendorp as he reviewed last weekend’s enthralling Soweto Debry. “People must understand that everybody had to be prepared for this. The Derby is not ordinary. This win against Orlando Pirates is a collective effort. This is when the individual performances don’t matter. What comes first is a win.”
Kaizer Chiefs came out tops against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates in the Soweto Derby. Amakhosi won the tense affair 3-2.
“We can refer back to the Chippa United midweek game. We brought in eight new players, and everyone understood it’s about the winning,” he added.
Chiefs beat Chippa United 2-0 in a midweek game before the Soweto Derby match.
“The individual performance of Pirates players is great,” noted Middendorp. “Ours was collective energy and effort. And that is what made the results. Liverpool beat (Manchester) City (English Premier League) through collective team effort on Sunday. It’s a normal way in a Derby. Pirates had a team of individual quality. They could match us on quality, but we had upper hand on the teamwork.”
Chiefs got off the mark in the opening minute benefiting from pressurising Pirates which resulted in an own goal. Leonardo Castro headed the second from a corner kick. Daniel Cardoso sealed it from the spot kick after Pirates came back to recover from a two-goal deficit.
“They had chances to equalise,” Middendorp admitted. “We also had a chance to increase the lead and they too could have taken a lead. That’s a Derby match, and that’s how it goes. We maintained composure and knew we have time to win the match. Red cards are a character of a Derby as well. It’s emotions, that is why 90 000 people pay to watch it. Cautions, penalties and other elements define the game. This is a contact sports, unlike golf or tennis, it is a contact sport.”
It is the FIFA International break and Middendorp remains focused. “It is a matter of goal setting. There’s a Telkom Knockout semi-final match coming up. This is the time to set goals for the next target. We are not carried away. We want to reach the final. Already now we’ve started preparing. But, let the players celebrate and rest for the moment and get back to focus,” he said.
Middendorp concluded by talking about the importance of keeping grounded. “The players know what is at stake – especially the local guys have a role to get the new guys into the groove. The players must help the new players to understand the meaning of the Soweto Derby, the meaning of this win and how to handle it. The mood is fantastic, and I think it is really underestimated how much this win means to Chiefs. It is so beautiful to witness the happiness and the mood in the streets.”