Ernst Middendorp upbeat ahead of new season

31 July 2019 - 08:36
By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp. / Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp. / Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

There may be doubts about Kaizer Chiefs' chances of doing well in the 2019/2020 campaign under Ernst Middendorp, but the German is convinced Amakhosi will do it.

Chiefs are still reeling from an embarrassing ninth place finish last season, but the 60-year-old tactician has insisted that they are in a better position with players who were injured last term now available for the start of the season.

Middendorp's charges will be tested by Highlands Park in their season opener at Makhulong Stadium, Thembisa, on Sunday.

He looks forward to proving wrong the doubting Thomases.

"It will be a totally different set up," Middendorp promised this week. "Our biggest challenge [injuries] was very clear. Immediately, after finishing the season in May, we looked into it."

Chiefs have welcomed back the likes of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and defender Eric Mathoho who were injured.

Middendorp hopes that Chiefs are going to enjoy a clean bill of health throughout the campaign to enable them to fight on all fronts to finally win some silverware after four barren seasons.

"It's very important to bring these players back to maximum. that was one element and so far, they look good," Middendorp said.

"Secondly, of course you always look to as quick as possible get the new players right."

The former Maritzburg United mentor has spoken of his concerns regarding some players who may be fatigued such as Khama Billiat, who was at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Despite these challenges, Middendorp remains confident Chiefs are going to redeem themselves in the new season.

He's also encouraged that players who could have easily been written off are showing the willingness to fight for the team.

Leonardo Castro, for example, was on his way out of Naturena after being transfer-listed, but has since been retained as he showed some improvement during pre-season and Middendorp is impressed with him.