“I try not to be too emotional because this restart is a totally different position for everybody. It is not about the relief for me, it is about the ambition that Kaizer Chiefs had and set at the beginning of the season.”
DURBAN – Although Kaizer Chiefs extended their lead at the top of the Absa Premiership standings to six points with a fantastic 3-2 comeback win over Polokwane City, coach Ernst Middendorp is not getting too excited just yet.
Sundowns, who are Chiefs’ main rivals for the title, dropped crucial points on Friday when they had to be satisfied with a 1-1 stalemate against Highlands Park.
But Middendorp didn’t want to pay attention to Sundowns as he prefers to focus on his side.
“I was busy preparing for this game. I only saw the results at the end of the match. I’m not looking left or right or how Sundowns are playing. That’s not my job. Kaizer Chiefs is paying for a different portfolio,” Middendorp said.
“I try not to be too emotional because this restart is a totally different position for everybody. It is not about the relief for me, it is about the ambition that Kaizer Chiefs had and set at the beginning of the season,” he added.
Amakhosi have collected four points out of the possible six since the resumption of football. They have now amassed 52 points after 24 league outings while defending champions Sundowns are on 46 points after 23 games and have dropped four points in their two league games.
Both teams are celebrating their 50th anniversary and there’s no doubt that they will be looking to celebrate that in style. While Sundowns are chasing their 10th league triumph and a hat-trick of titles, Chiefs will be desperate to end a five-year trophy drought.
Serbian Samir Nurkovic has been instrumental for Chiefs. He netted the winner against Polokwane and he was also the difference against Bidvest Wits last week. In total, he has rattled the net on 13 occasions now – one behind Gabadinho Mhango of Orlando Pirates.
In two matches since the resumption of football, Nurkovic has been chosen as the Man of the Match in both games. He is favourite for the Footballer of the Season gong.
Middendorp was quick to praise his player.
“No doubt, no doubt, Samir Nurkovic is the player who demonstrates the ambition, who demonstrates the spirit, and that’s why you need everybody to influence teammates. He is one of our core players. He is one of the guys who has had a huge influence in getting Kaizer Chiefs to the position we are in right now.”
Chiefs will be pinning their hopes on Nurkovic again on Wednesday when they square off against Bloemfontein Celtic.