Amakhosi beat Sundowns without a number of players who are nursing injuries, but the German mentor is satisfied with his team’s depth
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp is pleased with his team’s depth and the qualities some of his fringe players bring to the side.
This was after Amakhosi beat Mamelodi Sundowns 4-2 in the Shell Helix Cup without a few of their key figures such as George Maluleka, Reeve Frosler, Itumeleng Khune and Samir Nurkovic.
Middendorp handed Leonardo Castro a rare start against his former side, and the Colombian marksman repaid the coach’s faith with a first-half hat-trick.
However, the German mentor warned that Castro’s performance doesn’t erase Nurkovic’s contribution to the team, hinting that the Serbian’s place in the team is safe.
“There are players who didn’t get enough chance to play in the last eight games [such as Castro], but it [Castro’s performance against Sundowns] doesn’t mean all of a sudden a player like Samir Nurkovic is a bad player or Reeve Frosler is a bad player or George Maluleka or Itu Khune,” Middendorp told reporters.
“I don’t think that’s how we should look at it. We know that yellow cards are coming and we’ve seen injuries flying, and then you have to be prepared. We need these players. We have seen some of the players in but I know the value of other players.”
“I am very happy about him [Castro] showing up and we have another week… playing next Saturday and let’s see.
Middendorp expects several of his regular players to have a full week of training ahead of next weekend’s Telkom Knockout Cup away to Cape Town City but he’s happy he doesn’t have to rely on certain players to win matches for Chiefs after what he saw in the game against Sundowns.
“Players are starting full training and I personally enjoyed to have these number of players with certain qualities, and not only having the first 11, 12 or 13. I think it developed itself out,” added Middendorp.