Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football writer
2 minute read
28 Feb 2019
11:33 am

Middendorp raises doubts over Castro’s fitness to be a Chiefs player

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Middendorp made it clear that he was disappointed with how the Colombian has handled his loss of form which has had some fans calling for his substitution in recent games.

Leonardo Castro of Kaizer Chiefs (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Kaizer Chiefs coach, Ernst Middendorp has raised concerns about striker Leonardo Castro’s mental fitness to play at a club with big expectations like Amakhosi.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday morning, Middendorp made it clear that he was disappointed with how the Colombian has handled his loss of form which has had some fans calling for his substitution in recent games.

“He didn’t travel with us to Polokwane… it was in the cup game (Nedbank Cup against ABC Motsepe League minnows, Magic FC), the missing, getting hammered and he got a little sickness and a groin injury but don’t ask me how far he is (with recovery).

“The players don’t only play with the legs but with the mind as well and of course you could see he was not presenting the high level of confidence then he pulled out because of sickness, because of injury,” said Middendorp.

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Asked to clarify further and if he expected an international player like Castro to suffer from such low confidence, the German mentor tried to be diplomatic in his answer.

“Yes, there is always the brand which is going to bring in high profile players, let’s take it from their side, as is expectation. But you have to do certain homework as you have to be very clear. Bringing a player into Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates with high expectation you must know that every test game, every league game and every cup game you have to win. If you do something not right you have to be strong enough to continue doing and showing your best.

“It was of course a surprise to see that there was a bit of a knock (in Castro’s confidence). Let’s take it from that side. It was disappointment on his side but I believe he needs the support and he will be able to give us a good run for the remainder of the season,” said Middendorp.

Castro’s former coach at Mamelodi Sundowns, Pitso Mosimane revealed earlier this season that the Colombian had a tendency of feigning injuries when things are not going his way.

Middendorp said Castro started training on Monday but he was unsure if he was fully recovered from the groin injury and the sickness that kept him out of Amakhosi’s 1-1 draw at Polokwane City.

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