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Bucs images 'haunt' Middendorp at home venue

Ernst Middendorp coach of Kaizer Chiefs has expressed concerns about playing at Orlando Pirates's home ground.
Ernst Middendorp coach of Kaizer Chiefs has expressed concerns about playing at Orlando Pirates's home ground.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Ernst Middendorp has described Kaizer Chiefs playing at Orlando Stadium, their home venue for the remaining matches this season, as strange, having to deal with images of rivals Orlando Pirates.

Chiefs played their first match at Orlando Stadium in their 1-1 draw against Bidvest Wits on Wednesday.

The stadium is the usual home venue for Pirates, but all clubs were drawn at neutral "home" venue, including teams who are based in Gauteng, during the bio bubble.

Now, having to deal with Pirates brandings like posters of players in the dressing room and other stuff, Middendorp said they are not enjoying the benefit of playing "at home".

"It's strange... you have to face the pictures of Orlando Pirates heroes; when you go in you see it left and right," Middendorp said.

"Yeah, it is not comfortable. It doesn't make you feel like you are playing at home. There is no doubt about that, but it's okay."

Despite his side failing to extend their lead at the top to six points after playing to a 1-1 draw with Wits, Middendorp believes the title race will go down to the wire.

"We have a long season to go and it will not be decided in four or five games before. We said it in August last year when we started that it will be a competitive one until the last two games and we are prepared for it."

Chiefs will meet relegation-threatened Polokwane City at Loftus Versfeld tomorrow (3.30pm) and Middendorp feels his side will need to be at their best if they are to win.

"It doesn't matter whether you play Wits, [Mamelodi] Sundowns, Baroka, Polokwane City or Chippa United. It is a game with a different aspect, Polokwane wants to stay in the league and they will be more dangerous and more aggressive than what we've seen against Wits," Middendorp said.

"It is not a situation where I'm expecting a different game or an easy one, there is no easy game until the end of the season."

The German mentor also explained that the reason goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune missed the Wits match was because of fitness.

"He missed some training sessions for different reasons. It is simple and easy, there were several training days where he couldn't make it."

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