Middendorp's take on selection

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp. / Veli Nhlapo
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp. / Veli Nhlapo

If it was up to Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp, Khama Billiat and new Zambian marksman Lazarous Kambole, wouldn't have featured in the Carling Black Label Cup match against Orlando Pirates on Saturday.

Middendorp wasn't pleased with how the Amakhosi faithful selected the starting XI for this hugely-anticipated pre-season Soweto derby that ended 2-0 in favour of Pirates in front of a sold-out crowd at FNB Stadium.

"Kambole, he played, he started at the end of June. He was with Zambia at the Cosafa Cup, he was with the club Zesco United in cup competitions... semifinals, quarterfinals of course, before and the final," Middendorp reasoned.

"I am very happy that he didn't get an injury, under normal circumstances, Kambole wouldn't have been on the field."

He continued: "Same with Billiat. Khama played eighth of May, 20th of May he was in the camp with Zimbabwe playing Cosafa. Then from there, straightaway they went to camp for Afcon, then he jumped into the (Africa Cup of Nations) competition with Zimbabwe in Egypt."

Chiefs played the full match without a natural left-back as the fans never voted for one.

Middendorp praised skipper of the day Bernard Parker for helping at the back as makeshift left-back Lorenzo Gordinho struggled to contain Pirates attackers at times.

"There was no left-back voted, I had to go and find a solution. I think Bernard Parker did very well, to find the gaps and pockets."

Perhaps mistrusting his new players, under Middendorp has emphasised he wants to build the core of his team around players who were injured.

"I have said it several times, it's not about the new players, it's about the players who were not available in the past five, six months of last season," Middendorp reiterated.

"Let's start to see [Itumeleng] Khune, [Lebohang] Manyama, [Eric] Mathoho, [Happy] Mashiane. The aim is to bring these players to full fitness as quick as possible."

The Glamour Boys hope to bounce back from the "beer cup" heartbreak when they clash against Highlands Park in a league opener at Makhulong Stadium, Tembisa, on Sunday (3pm).

It remains to be seen if Middendorp will rest the players he feels are suffering from fatigue, the likes of Billiat and Kambole.

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