Playing youngster Bruce Bvuma ahead of the well-travelled and experienced Daniel Akpeyi in goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win raised eyebrows but Kaizer Chiefs coach, Ernst Middendorp has explained the reasoning behind it, saying it has nothing to do with Akpeyi’s precarious performances in the past few games.
The Amakhosi coach went with Bvuma in their unpredictable tie against relegation-troubled Maritzburg United and the 23-year-old stood his ground with some telling saves that kept his side in the game.
Middendorp said his inclusion was with one eye on the all-important Nedbank Cup clash against Cape Town City set for March 31 in which Akpeyi cannot play as he played for Chippa United in the same competition before joining Chiefs in January.
“We have a very important game at the end of the month against Cape Town City and I have gone to watch them,” said Middendorp. “We have to be well- prepared for that game. Daniel is cup-tied and we have to prepare Bruce now.
“We can’t say in the last week let us give him a training session now. That is not how it works. That was what the change was for. I am very happy with Daniel, he is an international keeper and has been invited to the Nigeria team,” he added.
While their chances are rather more mathematical than realistic in the Absa Premiership title chase, Chiefs can still salvage their season as they are now fighting on two fronts – the Premiership and Nedbank Cup. The three points earned in Saturday’s win have boosted their chances in the league chase as they are now on 35 points, five behind Orlando Pirates who are top with six games to play.
“We pressurise ourselves every day telling them it’s a must- win game. I am happy with this 1-0 win and three points. We have thrown away too many points and it is now all about the result. It may not be excellent but it is about fighting and the three points,” said Middendorp.
Maritzburg’s Eric Tinkler was again left to rue the chances they missed, claiming they could have sealed the game in the first 45 minutes had they been clinical enough.
“We should have sealed it in the first 45 minutes. We dominated and managed to get behind them but our decision-making was not very good.
“Coming here we had one point in the pocket and we gave it away. And that’s dangerous for us at this stage,” he said.