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Middendorp: Chiefs were “clearly still tired”


Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp felt Kaizer Chiefs were still recovering from an energy-sapping trip to Angola when they lost to the Team of Choice.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt says his players muct step up. Picture: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Kaizer Chiefs’ slump in domestic football continued with a a 2-0 defeat to Maritzburg United – but Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp said he felt Amakhosi were still recovering from an energy-sapping trip to Angola (for a CAF Champions League qualifier) a few days ago.

After enjoying the initiative for long periods at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, Chiefs failed to add to their one win after nine matches in the DStv Premiership. They are hovering just above the relegation zone in 14th place.

“We had a complete week to prepare for it (the match), and this is a little bit of a handicap for a team travelling to Angola – they have not really recovered,” said Middendorp.

“I could see it in the beginning (that Chiefs were lethargic) and we have to be very honest,” said Middendorp.

“But this is part of the business. If you want to be on the international side, you have to manage this.”

Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt appreciated Middendorp’s comment, but said it cannot be an excuse for his team’s defeat.

“We can’t use that as an excuse about travelling for the game in Angola a few days ago,” said Hunt.

“It was not easy but still, that is no excuse. We must be better. We had four days to prepare for this match.

“What we could not do was change the team, and that was the big problem. But we cannot use it as an excuse. Players must step up.

“If you look at the game, there was not much in it. We did well in the first half, but they scored their first goal out of nothing and then obviously they got the second goal from a throw-in.

“We cannot be happy with our defence. That is for sure.

“The players gave a big effort on Tuesday (in the CAF match). We could not change it because we didn’t have anything else.

“But we can’t make excuses and everyone’s in the same boat with Covid-19.

“We now have to get tougher, bigger, stronger. I thought for both goals we were a bit weak. Is it really a 2-0 nil game? But it is 2-0. That is what it is.

“If you look at the game itself, the first goal was from a great ball into the box and I think we should have headed that ball clear.

“The second goal was from a throw-in. We had three people around the ball, so we must take responsibility. You can talk all day to stop these things, but we have to defend better.”

AmaZulu are next up for Chiefs in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday.

AmaZulu is now coached by Benni McCarthy who many years ago was Hunt’s player when the two were at Western Cape First Division side Seven Stars.


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