Kaizer Chiefs coach, Ernst Middendorp shielded his new recruits from pressure when he announced that it is not about them ahead of a season in which Amakhosi will be under tremendous pressure as they look overturn the failures of the past four years.
He also deflected responsibility of signing them, saying it was a collective decision to bring on Lazarous Kambole, Samir Nurkovic, James Kotei and Kyrean Baccus.
“No. No. No… Kaizer Chiefs made the signings. Kaizer Chiefs made the decisions. I have said it before that it is not a one-man show. It’s a one-man show only when it comes to blaming… I am available for that (to take the blame for the team’s failures),” said Middendorp at Naturena on Friday morning.
“But we have a very clear structure inside this big brand, having scouts around and a clear identification process before any decision is made. At the moment we have brought in four players. It was important for us to put some parameters into it. We went for guys in the ages between 24 and 28 years.
“We wanted to see to it that these players have no handicap in terms of being injured or parked in a dust bin at other clubs. All these players have played regularly over 30 games at their former teams. It does not matter whether it was in Europe, in Australia, Zambia or Tanzania,” explained the mentor whose team failed to make the top eight last season.
He said they had a proper vetting system to ensure that they recruited players who would add value to the team and will be able to hit the ground running.
“We put in some parameter in to say let’s see if the players can fit in quick. Some have already adapted in very well, some will need more time but that’s not unusual.”
Middendorp insisted that inasmuch as a lot is expected of the new players, the focus should not be entirely on them. He said there were also some of the old guard who were not available towards the end of last term who will be back this time around.
“I have said it several times while preparing for the season that let’s not go and talk about the new players. For us, as you may have seen and it’s been mentioned very often that we had players like Itu Khune injured in January. No doubt, Itu is No. 1, Itu is so influential with the organisation and with leadership. He is needed.
“We also had Erick Mathoho out injured. His value when he is 100% fit is in terms of defensive work and being dangerous when we have set-plays up front is undoubted,” said Middendorp.
Chiefs will meet Orlando Pirates in the Carling Cup at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.