Why Chiefs coach Middendorp didn't play several players against Chippa

Kaizer Chiefs team picture (back row l-r) Daniel Akpeyi, Leonardo Castro, Yagan Sasman, Erick Mathoho, Willard Katsande, Lebogang Manyama (front row l-r) Reeve Frosler, Khama Billiat, Bernard Parker, Kearyn Baccus, Daniel Cardoso during the 2019 Telkom Knockout last 16 game between Cape Town City and Kaizer Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium on 19 October 2019.
Kaizer Chiefs team picture (back row l-r) Daniel Akpeyi, Leonardo Castro, Yagan Sasman, Erick Mathoho, Willard Katsande, Lebogang Manyama (front row l-r) Reeve Frosler, Khama Billiat, Bernard Parker, Kearyn Baccus, Daniel Cardoso during the 2019 Telkom Knockout last 16 game between Cape Town City and Kaizer Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium on 19 October 2019.
Image: © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs’ decision to rest several key players against Chippa United on Wednesday night has paid off‚ and the club have a full bill of health for Saturday’s Absa Premiership Soweto derby match-up against Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium.

An added bonus for Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp is that his depleted team managed a 2-0 away win against Chippa at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

This means Amakhosi go into a second derby in a week with a seven-point lead in the PSL over second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns.

Middendorp said the decision to rest players‚ and who to rest‚ in Port Elizabeth was made on the advice of Chiefs’ medical and technical staff on Monday and Sunday.

This was after a gruelling 120 minutes of football ended 2-2 before Amakhosi beat Orlando Pirates on penalties in Saturday’s Telkom Knockout derby quarterfinal at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

“The technical team and the medical department were already [looking at it] on Sunday‚ and the final decision was made on Monday‚” Middendorp said.

“We had to be sure which players would travel. The medical department has a say. ‘Definitely not Lebogang [Manyama]‚ definitely not Khama [Billliat]‚ not Eric [Mathoho]; please be careful with Yagan Sasman.

“These instructions are coming – we made a list on Monday morning after these treatments.

“It was very clear – ‘Listen to the medical department‚ listen to the sports science. What can we do? Which players are no used?’

“And in the end you have to make a combination of what is then requested.

“With Daniel Akpeyi it was a very clear decision to say‚ ‘He’s on a third yellow card. Give Bruce this game’.”

Middendorp said central midfielder Kearyn Baccus and right-back Reeve Frosler should return to fitness‚ having missed the Chippa game and the TKO derby in Durban.

“I have had the results that all the players [are available]‚” the coach said.

“Even Yagan Sasman here‚ we decided at lunch time‚ after a test this [Wednesday] morning that he needs these two or three more days. He will be available.

“Khama Billiat‚ definitely; Lebogang and Eric Mathoho definitely. It looks like Reeve and Kearyn definitely will be available.”

Chiefs’ goals against Chippa came via a brace by Dumisani Zuma in the 67th and 90th minutes.

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