Kaizer Chiefs are a ticking time bomb that can explode at any moment and demolish anything in their path and coach, Ernst Middendorp hopes that the anticipated explosion happens this afternoon at FNB Stadium where they host Orlando Pirates in an Absa Premiership match set for a 3.30pm kick-off.
Amakhosi have improved quite markedly since Middendorp took over in December last year but their wastefulness in front of goal remains a sore thumb for the German mentor.
“We have certain issues in terms of not kicking the ball into the net,” said Middendorp this week. “But I am quite sure that with the capacity and quality we have with guys like Leonardo (Castro), Khama (Billiat), Gustavo (Paez) and Bernard Parker… these players will explode at some time and hopefully it is on Saturday,” he added.
Middendorp holds an incredible against the Buccaneers as he never lost a derby match in his first stint at Amakhosi and has always given Pirates problems even with other teams he has been with. But he says that counts for nothing as it is in the past.
“I’m not living in the past and not thinking about the past results. I am enjoying each and every game and all games are equal but the derby is more equal there is no doubt about that,” he said.
Chiefs players are more confident this time around and all believe they have the right formations and structure to give an improved performance in the derby.
“It’s progress… The players are responding well. We give them certain autonomy, a certain responsibility and we expect that they show initiative to find solutions on the field at certain moments. We have to prepare and give them tools. It’s work in progress…
“No, it’s not too early (to play Pirates). We must be capable of handling certain moments already and every player is here to contribute to the performance of the team. When the match starts the responsibility goes to the side of the players,” said Middendorp.
Pirates’ Micho Sredojevic was meanwhile worried about complacency, saying Amakhosi are not the same team they beat three times last year.
“We guard against complacency by telling ourselves, with respect to (former Chiefs coach) Steve Komphela, this is not the same team we played in the last two matches,” he said.
“It’s a new dawn, a new start, a new ball-game. Whatever is behind us, we erased. On Saturday, we are playing against totally new opponents,” added Micho.
Although the bottom line of the match is the three points which will come as a good boost for either side’s league campaign, Micho said the match is however bigger than that.
“Yes it’s three points… but deep in the mind it’s much more. The biggest power given to us is making people happy. Our supporters are praying, supporting us. We know what this derby means to them.
“I just want to focus on this match, instead of going beyond and thinking about the state of the table. There is still too much to be played,” said the Serbian mentor.