Chiefs coach Middendorp ‘very hard on his players’‚ Maboe warns Sundowns
Ernst Middendorp is a coach who is hard on his players‚ a perfectionist‚ and can get the best from them‚ Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Lebohang Maboe has warned his teammates.
Sundowns travel down the N1 from Pretoria to FNB Stadium just outside Soweto for Saturday’s match-up against Kaizer Chiefs that restarts the Absa Premiership from its Christmas break.
Maboe‚ who played under new Chiefs coach Middendorp at Maritzburg United‚ has warned Sundowns to expect a different Amakhosi from the one who battled out a 1-1 draw against the Brazilians in the two teams’ opening PSL match in August.
“We’re expecting a very difficult game‚ knowing coach Middendorp‚” Maboe said.
“He always wants perfection out of his players‚ he always wants them to work hard.
“He’s a very hard coach on his players. But at the same time he helps you in doing good in your game.
“So we really are expecting a different Kaizer Chiefs from the one we played at the beginning of the season.
“It’s going to be a very difficult game for both teams. It’s going to be an open game.
“Both teams have got quality players. So I don’t see why both will have to sit back and want to get one another on the break.
“I feel like it’s going to be a very open game with a lot of chances being created.”
Chiefs‚ in sixth place‚ would love a win to solidify Middendorp’s tenure and begin to bring their season back on track.
Sundowns‚ in fifth but with three games in hand‚ need points form their catch-up games to keep in touch with pace-setters Wits.
Both teams will be aware that the third quarter of the league is where genuine challengers can be sorted from also-rans.
“It’s a very important game for us‚ knowing that we have to collect as many points as we can now‚ in January‚ knowing that we’re going to be playing five games [in the month]‚” Maboe said.
“It’s important for us to keep the momentum of winning games. It’s going to be very tough for us.
“But we are looking forward to it. It’s one of the important games of the season. But we’re ready for the task.”
Middendorp replaced Giovanni Solinas at Chiefs‚ whose nervy five months at the club ended in early December after a run of poor results.
PSL this weekend
Chippa United 0 Bloemfontein Celtic 1
Polokwane City v AmaZulu (Old Peter Mokaba Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns (FNB Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Free State Stars v Bidvest Wits (Goble Park‚ 6pm)
Highlands Park v Orlando Pirates (Makhulong Stadium‚ 8.15pm)
SuperSport United v Cape Town City (Lucas Moripe Stadium‚ 8.15pm)
Lamontville Golden Arrows v Maritzburg United (Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Baroka FC v Black Leopards (Peter Mokaba Stadium‚ 3.30pm)