Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp to continue backing ‘keeper Virgil Vries in Itumeleng Khune’s absence

27 January 2019 - 11:57
By Marc Strydom
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp speaks to his assistant coach Shaun Bartlett during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on January 05, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp speaks to his assistant coach Shaun Bartlett during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on January 05, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ernst Middendorp has indicated he would rather work with Virgil Vries and Kaizer Chiefs' other reserve goalkeepers in the absence of No 1 Itumeleng Khune‚ than try to go to the transfer market in the few days left of the January window.

Ernst Middendorp has indicated he would rather work with Virgil Vries and Kaizer Chiefs' other reserve goalkeepers in the absence of No 1 Itumeleng Khune‚ than try to go to the transfer market in the few days left of the January window.

Bafana Bafana stalwart Khune has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury for Chiefs‚ who meet ABC Motsepe League Tornado FC at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in East London in the Nedbank Cup last-32 on Sunday.

Vries‚ signed from Baroka FC at the start of the season‚ has struggled so far deputising for one of the best goalkeepers in Africa.

Middendorp might dent the confidence of the Namibia international by signing another keeper.

Besides‚ as the coach pointed out‚ how does one find a keeper at short notice with the class necessary to come into a pressure situation at Chiefs and provide stability?

“With Itumeleng Khune it was a crash into Willard Katsande. Unfortunately it was Willard - with another player it would probably have been a bit softer‚" Middendorp said.

“And it happens‚ in a training session‚ both in the same team‚ both went for the ball. And out‚ what can you do?

“Personally I believe we have a setup. And I've said it before‚ it's not the target of Virgil Vries to be competitive with Khune. There are not a lot of goalkeepers who can have this target.

"But [instead it is] to make sure that he does his best and to make sure‚ knowing the quality he has - and it's certainly a different one - he must be on his own and very clear to play his own game.

“And I have my own idea on how to identify a good player. I think everybody has to work on it. And he is on his way‚ and with support he must really follow my definition of being a good player.

“And I believe we have other players in this goalkeeping department. Not with the same experience [as Khune] and the same numbers of PSL or international game minutes. This is very difficult to put a different setup into at the moment. There is no club who can give you a goalkeeper so that you can be in a different position.”

“Let's work with these guys‚ give them the confidence and ask them to do the right stuff to be a good qualified goalkeeper and member of the team."

Chiefs have Bruce Bvuma and reserve team keeper Brylon Petersen as cover for Vries.