“It is a different match, but the preparation doesn’t change,” says Ernst Middendorp. “We don’t train with the cup written all over the training fields. We train according to the plan encompassing all elements of preparing the team for the match.”
Middendorp and his men arrived to a customary warm welcome at the Cape Town International Airport on Friday evening. Kaizer Chiefs is in town to play in first round (last 16) of the Telkom Knockout Cup against the ever-resistant Cape Town City.
“It is pleasing to have the international players back from their respective national teams injury free,” adds Middendorp, “They all look great, have traveled to Cape Town and are available for selection.” Hereto, Middendorp referred to South African contingent of Erick Mathoho, Lazalous Kambole, Siyabonga Ngezana, and Happy Mashiane. “I am glad they all participated in matches for their nations.”
Middendorp was glowing with confidence at the mentioning of his medical room, “the guys are back”, refers the German to the returnees from injury of George Maluleka, Reeve Frosler and Samir Nurkovic. “They all responded to treatment and will be competing for places in the match day squad. I am happy, well, very happy to have a pool of players to select from.”
City have options and they have one or two players who were not part of their line up when Chiefs beat them 2-1 in the league this season, “I think they have Thabo Nodada who has returned,” notes Middendorp. “And also Roland Putsche came back from long term injury and has played a few minutes as well.
“We have done our homework and are ready for the match,” he vows, “It is another match but with different implication because you lose you are out of the cup. We want to progress to the next stage.”