Kaizer Chiefs downplays playmaker Siphelele Ntshangase's absence

Siphelele Leonard Ntshangase, Joseph Molangoane and Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs warm up during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Kaizer Chiefs and AmaZulu at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 17 March 2018.
Siphelele Leonard Ntshangase, Joseph Molangoane and Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs warm up during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Kaizer Chiefs and AmaZulu at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 17 March 2018.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Playmaker Siphelele Ntshangase’s absence from Kaizer Chiefs’ pre-season Shell Helix Ultra Cup match against Mamelodi Sundowns a few days ago may have raised eyebrows but Amakhosi do not understand what the fuss is all about.

Chiefs communications manager Vina Maphosa said he was not required to provide information on whether Ntshangase was injured for the pre-season friendly as he normally would for an official game.

A strong Chiefs lost 2-1 against a virtual Sundowns B team.

Ntshangase‚ a headline signing for Chiefs in January from Baroka FC who subsequently struggled to nail down a starting place in ex-coach Steve Komphela’s starting lineup last season‚ did not even appear on Amakhosi’s team sheet.

“Unfortunately‚ I will be forthright with you‚ we don’t explain why players are not playing in the off-season‚” Maphosa said.

“In the off-season I do not give an update of why this player didn’t play‚ why that one did. Because those games are not up to that kind of calibre where I report on injuries and so on.”

Chiefs assistant-coach Patrick Mabedi was on the bench as new head coach Giovanni Solinas awaits his work permit.

Maphosa pointed out that Ntshangase got a start in the final of the previous week’s friendly Maize Cup tournament where Chiefs beat Free State Stars on penalties in the final.

“In the off-season the games are played in the interest of preparation‚ and with the interest of trying to give everybody a run‚" he said.

“The player you mentioned did have a run in the Maize Cup. So there’s no reason to question his presence or availability in that match [the Helix].

“If you say that one didn’t play I can also tell you how many others didn’t play.

“For example‚ Teenage Hadebe didn’t play in the Maize Cup‚ he played in the Shell Helix. The same with Gustavo Paes. Joseph Molangoane started in the Maize Cup but didn’t play in the Helix.

“Next week‚ ahead of or first [Absa Premiership] game‚ we’ll give the state of availability of all our players.”

The potentially destructive playmaker’s absence in two out of three of Chiefs’ publicly held preseason friendlies‚ though‚ does raise questions over whether Ntshangase is still being viewed as a fringe player with the 2018-19 campaign now just 10 days away.

Last season’s third-placed finishers Chiefs play in the PSL’s first game of the season in a big match-up against champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday‚ August 4.

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