'Respect if somebody got an injury‚ somebody is not available‚' says Chiefs coach Middendorp
George Maluleka was injured‚ Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has insisted‚ after the midfielder was not fielded having been voted into the starting line-up in Saturday’s 2-0 Carling Black Label Cup defeat against Orlando Pirates.
Willard Katsande came into the starting line-up for Amakhosi in the pre-season friendly at FNB Stadium in which fans vote in the starting line-ups‚ with Maluleka no longer in the XI or on the substitutes’ bench.
Middendorp had complained during the week – during which Maluleka gave media interviews in perfectly good health on Wednesday – that the supporters had not voted in a defensive midfielder and a left-back to his XI.
This prompted speculation on Saturday of a “mystery ailment” having overcome Maluleka to make way for Katsande.
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However‚ Middendorp insisted the player picked up a hamstring injury in the training session that directly followed Chiefs' Wednesday morning media open day at their Naturena headquarters.
“George Maluleka was injured‚” Middendorp said‚ unprompted by a question on Maluleka's absence‚ in the post-match press conference.
“We had football sprints with maximum rests in the Wednesday training session – four times five‚ three times 10‚ three times 25.
“In the second last-last [sprint] he got a hamstring issue. We sent him for an ultrasound.
“And please excuse that it is on such a sour note. Because I got the information already that it was doubted why George was not on the field.
“To make it very clear – I would have loved to see him on the field. He had a good pre-season so far.
“But‚ please‚ respect if somebody got an injury‚ somebody is not available. I think‚ let’s take it like this.”
Chiefs open their 2019-20 Absa Premiership campaign against Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium next Sunday (August 4).
Amakhosi have not won a trophy in four years‚ and finished a hugely disappointing ninth in the league last season.