Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has hinted that he might set Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro on Mamelodi Sundowns again, only this time with added spice in the form of Samir Nurkovic.
Chiefs now meet Mamelodi Sundowns in an Absa Premiership match at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday afternoon.
Billiat and Castro showed they still have an almost telepathic understanding when they ran rings around the Masandawana defence in a Shell Helix Ultra Cup friendly match recently.
Their inter-play had fans reminiscing about their time together at Sundowns where they were unstoppable, with Keagan Dolly also forming part of the trio nicknamed “CBD” at the time.
Middendorp may have his own version of the “CBD” with Nurkovic joining Billiat and Castro in attack to form the “NBC” (Nurkovic, Billiat, Castro).
The trio played together for the first time last Saturday when Nurkovic came on for the injured Bernard Parker and although their combination was not as smooth sailing, it showed promise of becoming more lethal with more game time together.
And Middendorp has hinted he might call on them in the future, saying he was not opposed to the idea when a suggestive question was posed to him.
“We had a fantastic 45 minutes on Saturday against Sundowns,” said Middendorp in a post-match interview after the 4-2 win over Cape Town City in the Telkom Knockout.
“It was significant. But at the moment… why not? It is possible. Samir, Castro and Khama Billiat… we will see. As long as we all understand our roles and everybody is part of the team in terms of forward movement and the defensive side,” he added.
Under Middendorp, Amakhosi have had a fantastic start to the season – bolting to the top of the table in the league and showing courage in coming from a goal down to win the match against City in the cup last weekend.
Their form has seen Sundowns’ Pitso Mosimane conceding that they could wrestle the Premiership title off them.
Middendorp – who was an interested spectator during Sundowns’ 5-0 TKO win on Sunday – was impressed with the resilience of his own team in the game against City but said while the result may be great, they need to quickly change focus to the Sundowns game.
“The injuries changed our game plan (but) we kept the shape until we got the equaliser. The final result matters as we move to the next stage.
“But for now, it is a matter of quickly moving to prepare for the next match.”