“I am quite satisfied with how our pre-season camp is going so far given the circumstances we find ourselves in with some of our key players missing due to their country duty in the Afcon tournament,” said coach Ernst Middendorp after taking the team through their paces on Tuesday afternoon.
“We are not complaining but it is a challenge for us preparing for the new season without some of the guys. For instance, we needed Daniel Cardoso and ‘Rama’ Mphahlele today, because we were working on our defensive work,” he added.
Seven Kaizer Chiefs players were called up by various associations to represent their countries at the Africa Cup of Nations.
“We have been working hard for the past few days and I’m happy with the response from some of the players,” he added. “It is good that we do not have any serious injuries and some of the guys who were injured last season are on their way back to full recovery.”
Some of the players whose countries have already been knocked out of tournament, have been given time off as they did not get any rest after the end of last season.
Khama Billiat is the only international player that is back in the team as Zimbabwe were knocked out in the first round of the continental showpiece. While his fellow countryman Teenage Hadebe has moved to Turkey.
“We have been keeping in touch with the technical and medical teams of the various national teams to check on our players and so far, there are no injury worries. We hope more players will join us as the week progresses and will be with us when we travel to Botswana on Friday,” the coach continued.
Amakhosi will face Botswana’s Township Rollers in a friendly encounter on Saturday at 14:30 at the Jamali Stadium in Tlokweng.
On the new players’ integration into the team, Middendorp remarked: “The four new guys have been working hard and we believe they will adapt quickly to our system and hit the ground running because we don’t have much time.
“We have been working on the players’ mental strength and teamwork which will see them communicate better in all departments,” the coach concluded.