Coach Ernest Middendorp and the Team landed safely at the Durban’s King Shaka International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.
“We are here to play a very tricky AmaZulu team,” said Middendorp upon arrival in Durban. “It’s going to be an intense game, but we are focused and ready for them. We are looking for maximum points in every match we play.”
Chiefs are visiting AmaZulu in a much-anticipated Absa Premiership fixture taking place tonight at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi. Kick-off is at 19:30.
“We have learnt a few lessons from the CAF Confederations Cup match in Zambia,” noted Middendorp referring to Sunday’s 3-1 loss against Zesco United FC. “We have seen our weaknesses and it is in such challenges that you’re able to tune-up your systems.”
The German mentor shared some of the experiences from the CAF Confederation Cup 1st leg playoff match: “We had good moments in the game,” reflected Middendorp. “We attacked well and should we have converted some of the chances – this would’ve resulted in a different score line. I thought we also scored a legit goal that was disallowed, but that’s all in the past. We are over it and our minds are on AmaZulu.”
Chiefs go into tonight’s league fixture at the back of a convincing 2-0 win beating Bidvest Wits away from home last Wednesday.
“We looked at AmaZulu especially their recent games at home,” said Middendorp. “They have key players to watch. We have to watch Ntuli (Bongi) and Vilakazi (Nhlanhla), because they can be dangerous if not marked.”
When the two teams met in September 2018, Chiefs took away maximum points – thanks to Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Siyabonga Ngezana’s goals.
“We are looking forward to playing good football and get a result,” said Middendorp before confirming some of the injuries. “It’s unfortunate Lorenzo Gordinho is ruled out with a hand fracture. We are still waiting for Ramahlwe Mphahlele to return to full fitness as well.”
Gordinho got hurt in Kaizer Chiefs’ MDC match on the weekend and will undergo surgery. “We hope to not have Lorenzo out for too long,” confirmed Middendorp. “There’s still a bit of time required to have Joseph Molangoane, Itumeleng Khune, Philani Zulu and Mulomowandau Mathoho return to action.”
Middendorp and his troops will look at this fixture as a stepping stone towards the leading pack in the log. At sixth position with 24 points, Amakhosi are gunning for maximum points at this stage of the log. Usuthu have made some ground after flirting with relegation at some point, at twelfth position – they have 17 points.
“We are seeing lots of improvement in our game,” concluded the German mentor. “The players are getting the message of what we want to achieve. It’s a matter of time that we start seeing a steady but upward movement in our trajectory.”
It is always a humdinger waiting to happen between Amakhosi and Usuthu, somewhat historic rivals. Supporters are in for another treat in Umlazi.