We are progressing – Middendorp

“Foremost, we have progressed to the next stage,” says coach Ernst Middendorp as he reviews his team’s performance in the Nedbank Cup round of 32. “The aim with this kind of matches is to get to the next round of the competition. And we did just that, albeit starting slow in the first half. It’s okay, we are in the hat for next round.”

Chiefs progressed to the Last 16 of the Nedbank Cup after beating Royal Eagles courtesy of Lebogang Manyama’s solitary goal on Saturday at FNB Stadium.

“We tried certain combinations in the first half,” confirms Middendorp. “We were not able to breakthrough in the first half. In the second half we made changes, bringing in Khama Billiat and Bernard Parker at half time. We started operating very well via the corridors and it paid off – we got the goal, thanks.”

Kenyan international Akumu Agay made his debut coming on for George Maluleka towards the end of the match. “You could see some qualities in Akumu,” the coach admits. Even in training you can see that he has some brilliant qualities. Let’s see how it goes. With time, we should be able to see more of his qualities.”

With Itumeleng Khune appearing for the first time after 4 months of absence, the coach says: “We have good goalies. All of them qualified to do the job for us. Let’s hear what the technical team says. I will be guided by their advice. Akpeyi has done well for us, saving us in certain situations. Maybe Khune will be back in goals soon.”

The draw for the round of 16 will take place on Monday evening. “I am happy we are going into the Nedbank Cup Last 16 draw,” concludes the German coach. “It can be tricky. I am sure you saw some of the results coming through. We will now focus on our next league match against Maritzburg United, but happy we won our first Nedbank Cup hurdle.”

Chiefs host Maritzburg United in an Absa Premiership fixture on Saturday, 15 February. Kick-off is at 18:00.