Doctor Khumalo has challenged Ntshangase to step up in the famous colours of Kaizer Chiefs following George Maluleka's departure.
DURBAN – The sudden departure of George Maluleka from Kaizer Chiefs has offered an opportunity to “forgotten man” Siphelele Ntshangase.
And one of the club’s most decorated players, Doctor Khumalo, has challenged the midfielder to make the step up in the famous colours of Amakhosi.
Khumalo was once the darling of Naturena and his exploits during his glittering career for Amakhosi – and Bafana Bafana – forced the club to retire his famous No 15 jersey. When Ntshangase joined the club, many thought he would follow in the footsteps of Khumalo because of his natural talent and skill.
Now, with Maluleka leaving with immediate effect, the door is open for Ntshangase to revive his once-promising career.
“It is an opportunity for boys like Ntshangase,” Khumalo said in an interview with Independent Media. “It is up to them now to raise their hand and say, ‘wow, there’s an opportunity, I want to grab it’.”
Maluleka played an integral part in reviving the Soweto giant’s fortunes this season. Before the Covid-19 lockdown, he was on top of his game and was rewarded with a Bafana Bafana call-up earlier this year. Unfortunately for him, the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sao Tome and Principe was postponed.
Chiefs are top of the Absa Premiership, four points clear of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who have a game in hand and it is now up to Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp and his technical team to come up with Plan B on how to fill the void left by Maluleka.
Khumalo, however, believes that plan is already in the works.
“I believe that they wouldn’t have allowed George to leave now if they didn’t have a plan to proceed with their title challenge without his services,” Khumalo said. “They are on the verge of winning the league and I’m sure such a decision was well thought out,” Khumalo said.
“I’m not saying the departure of George will create automatic opportunities but this is a chance for some of the players to raise their hand and come to the party,” Khumalo added.
Chiefs recently offered Ntshangase, 27, a one-year contract extension, which should serve as an incentive for him to up his game. He has yet to feature this season, since the arrival of coach Middendorp.
“It is not about the presence of the player. It is about the player and Kaizer Chiefs. Both parties need to be happy.
“But with the kind of players that they do possess at Chiefs, they are good enough to do the job,” Khumalo concluded.