“It was a match which was all about a win,” says Middendorp. “We had a number of players who have not started in a match this season. If you think of Dumsani Zuma and Siyabonga Ngezana, they’ve always came in as substitutes.”
An elated Ernst Middendorp described his successful plan that saw Kaizer Chiefs collecting maximum points against Chippa United on Wednesday night.
“It was always going to be difficult for the new combinations that we employed to start on a high note,” adds Middendorp, “In the second half we made changes and brought in George Mulelaka. As you know he makes things happen in the middle of the field. If you look, we started to pick up and gel and cause problems to Chippa. The evening was about the results. I’m glad we won and credit to teamwork.
“Chippa experienced a number of injuries and were forced to make substitutions, but at the end for it for us it is the three points that matter. They had an intensive game on Sunday, and they suffered as a consequence. That’s what we had to avoid having played very highly intensive matches in the past two weeks.
“There were moments of transition during the game that we could have exploited. Moving the ball quickly from the back could have resulted in more opportunities. But it is not unusual with this kind of games to make errors. Now we have less time to recover before the next match on Saturday.
“I want to repeat and emphasise that I don’t look at the log that much. I’m not really interested in the log positions. We focus on the game and try to find the right balance always. Other teams have games in hand and you’ll never know what will happen. I’m glad we are collecting points at this stage.”
“I was in PE on Sunday and saw Chippa play. I went back and had to collect reports on every player. This is crucial that the medical team have a say in guiding and giving report about the players. The doctors gave me instructions on conditions of the players. It is very clear I have to listen to the technical advice. We found Erick Mathoho, Lebogang Manyama and Khama Billiat needed extra days to recover.
“Other cases were obvious in our selection. Daniel Akpeyi is clearly on three yellow cards and we had to look at that and make a decision in that area. I’m glad Bruce Bvuma played well and kept a clean sheet.”
Going to the Soweto Derby on Saturday coach Middendorp concludes: “I have feedback already that the other players are available for selection in the next game. The reports I have received from home is that even Reeve Frosler and Kearyn Baccus should be ready for Saturday.
“The games before and after the Soweto Derby are tricky. This one is more complicated and needed some juggling. Playing a Derby two weekends in a row and having a midweek game was always a challenge. A huge compliment goes to the players. They are really coming to the party and adapting well to the situation.”