Why Chiefs coach Middendorp was irritated when he switched on his TV on Sunday morning

24 August 2020 - 13:45 By Mninawa Ntloko
German coach Ernst Middendorp is course for his first Premiership title in South Africa.
German coach Ernst Middendorp is course for his first Premiership title in South Africa.
Image: ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Fiery Kaizer Chiefs Ernst Middendorp has admitted that he became irritated when he switched on his television on Sunday morning and saw coverage of his team's challenges with yellow cards.

Chiefs' stars Lebogang Manyama‚ Erick Mathoho and Samir Nurković were all one yellow card away from a one-match suspension and Middendorp was not happy that the stations were broadcasting this bit of news for the whole world to see a few hours ahead of his club's league match against Stellenbosch FC on Sunday afternoon.

Nurković picked up a yellow card after starting from the bench against the Cape side and will miss Chiefs' showdown against title rivals Mamelodi Sundowns on Thursday. Manyama was slightly injured and did not feature in the match while Mathoho did not make the match day squad.

“I was quite impressed‚ opening the TV in the morning and seeing on Supersport and also on eTV‚ on eNews and so on‚ that the main target was talking about how many players Kaizer Chiefs have‚ you know‚ on yellow cards‚” the German mentor said.

“So I don’t know actually‚ is it by accident‚ I haven’t seen it before but it was so highlighted the issue of the entire news starting in the morning till the end and now okay‚ what happened? So I mean [Samir] Nurkovic gets a simple easy one against one [in the match against Stellenbosch]‚ he gets a yellow card in the [90th minute].”

“It's a bit of‚ I don't know‚ is it by accident or is it something which can happen? But we take it‚ we have to deal with it but it is irritating when you see this process that it starts in the morning and it gets discussed.”

Nurković's absence will be greatly felt by Chiefs on Thursday as the Serbian‚ who has scored 13 goals and is one strike behind leading scorer Gabadinho Mhango‚ has proven his match-winning abilities against a host of cubs this season.

Middendorp is understandably upset that he will not be able to rely on the ace striker's prowess‚ especially when facing a Sundowns side that is desperate to reign in the premiership leaders.

The Chiefs coach can at least turn to Zambian Lazarous Kambole after he finally broke his duck and scored his first goal against Stellenbosch on Sunday since arriving at Naturena from Zesco United in July last year.

“Of course‚ it is a huge loss [Nurković's suspension] and there is no doubt about it‚ and at the moment we must look at how to find a solution‚ as we know‚ certain players in particular in the forward movement are not on their best‚" he said.

"Let me try to find solutions inside the squad we have‚ in which way we can strategize it‚ but it is definitely something that it is very painful [Nurković's loss] for me‚ for us.”

Chiefs now turn their attention to Sundowns in a match that some observers believe could have a huge say on the destiny of the league title this season.

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