“It is still early days in the league,” said Ernest Middendorp on the sidelines of the pre-match training session on Friday night. “We are in the forming stage of the league. I’m encouraged though by the good vibe we have in the team:”
Middendorp took his charges through the captain’s run under the floodlights at the match venue, Moses Mabhida Stadium. Amakhosi are here to host the Limpopo Province side, Black Leopards.
“It is great to welcome back Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya from one match ban,” revealed the coach The left fullback didn’t feature in the opener due to accumulation of four yellow cards from the end of last season. “He will give us options in the back row of the line-up.”
Also available for selection is Leonardo Castro. “Leo missed the Highlands Park match due to an injury,” added Middendorp, “Leo’s availability is giving us options in the attacking half of our plans.”
The other player that missed the trip to Durban was Khama Billiat. His medical report for the match reads: “Billiat is recovering from a minor knee injury picked up during pre-season. He had a scan and is now being managed by medical team.”
There is a ray of hope to the return of Itumeleng Khune. Khune is recovering well from a shoulder surgery. “We are in a phase of increasing Khune’s work load in training sessions,” reports the Medical Team. “He is doing very well.”
“We are looking forward to the match,” concluded Middendorp. “Our preparations went well and we know very well that Leopards are no pushovers so we will work twice as hard.”
Kick-off for the much-anticipated Absa Premiership is at 20:15 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Tickets for the match are available from Computicket outlets and Shoprite/Checkers stores from R60 per ticket.