We've got news for you.

Register on TimesLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Middendorp‚ Mosimane bury the hatchet as Sundowns meet Chiefs at FNB

12 October 2019 - 13:32 By Marc Strydom
Pitso Mosimane and Ernst Middendorp say all is well.
Pitso Mosimane and Ernst Middendorp say all is well.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane and his Kaizer Chiefs counterpart Ernst Middendorp cooled any notion of a testy exchange they had on television this past week spilling into Saturday’s Shell Helix Ultra Cup friendly at FNB Stadium (kickoff 4pm).

Middendorp took exception‚ as the coaches were interviewed by Thomas Mlambo on SABC’s SoccerZone on Monday‚ to Mosimane suggesting that top-of-the-Absa Premiership Chiefs have benefited from refereeing decisions this season.

Asked after Sundowns’ pre-Helix training session at FNB on Friday if there was any needle in the friendly because of the exchange‚ Mosimane replied: “No.”

He continued: “No‚ I just told him [Middendorp] that he’s benefiting from the referees’ mistakes.

“I wasn’t commenting about his team. I was commenting that he was a beneficiary of the referees’ mistakes.

“Is it true? Why are Safa suspending people? For what? For no reason? And he’s [Middendorp] on top of the log.

“I hope my time must come also – I want to benefit‚” Mosimane added‚ half-jokingly.

The SA Football Association (Safa) earlier this month suspended assistant-referee Mervyn Van Wyk for some questionable decisions made in Chiefs’ 2-0 win against AmaZulu on September 24.

Asked if the exchange might spill over into the Helix‚ Mosimane replied: “Ah‚ no. We are professionals.

“Stay on the pitch. What I say or he says doesn’t matter. The players must play and win the match.

“I say my opinion‚ as always – you know that.”

Mosimane has been complimentary of how much more competitive Chiefs have been under Middendorp.

“They are a different team‚” he said again on Friday. “They are strong. He keeps his team tight and intact. They are physical. They have done well.”

There certainly appeared no residual hard feelings between Middendorp and Mosimane when‚ as Downs left the field after their Friday training session at FNB‚ and Chiefs entered the ground‚ the two coaches greeted each other warmly in the tunnel.

Middendorp did not want to be drawn on his previous exchange with Mosimane‚ or the Downs coach’s opinion on Chiefs and referees.

“I am not your partner in discussing this‚” Chiefs’ coach said.

“The referees are doing a fantastic job. As an example there was the game in Cape Town [Chiefs’ 2-1 victory against Cape Town City] – we won it in the end but there were some moments where the referees could have done it in a different way.

“It happens. I personally don’t have any problems with referees. They do their job.

“And if coaches from other clubs have the time to discuss this‚ go ahead.”

With many of their first team stars on international duty‚ both coaches will utilise the Helix – and for Chiefs‚ the Macufe Cup too against Bloemfontein Celtic at Free State Stadium on Sunday – to give game time to fringe players.

Mosimane said new Sundowns’ signing Tokelo Rantie will get a run.

“Ja‚ he will get a chance – he must play. I don’t know if he’ll start‚ but he’ll play – 100 percent‚” the coach said.