The 1-0 loss to Polokwane City at the weekend showed Amakhosi are still in a rebuilding process as the team looked one-dimensional, continuing to pump balls up front even when they could see it wasn’t helping against a stubborn City defence.
Before Saturday’s misfortune however, Amakhosi had looked good in going four games without a defeat in the Absa Premiership, with three wins and a draw. Speaking after the match, Middendorp admitted his team were not on solid ground as yet.
“I never got carried away by going four games unbeaten,” he said. “It is early and we are in a rebuilding stage considering the new faces we have in the team. We will continue to work hard and regroup before the next match at AmaZulu,” he said.
The defeat came just two days after Middendorp had been voted Coach of the Month for August by the Premier Soccer League and saw the return of calls for his dismissal again with some supporters reminding the team on social media that former coach Stuart Baxter was now available again after leaving Bafana Bafana.
But Middendorp remains undeterred and took the defeat on the chin as he looks to move on and get his team ready for their next assignment at Usuthu next Tuesday.
“The good thing is that I face the facts and reality. During the week I had a discussion with the players where I told them that following our four-game winning streak, let us not believe we are out of ICU yet.
“That was also the tone I got from the chairman in June (at the end of last season) – that the team are in ICU,” said Middendorp.
Chiefs started the season well, with the team showing great fighting spirit. But the coach’s otherwise careless utterances last week where he dressed down two of his players publicly may also have had a negative impact as the team couldn’t show the same aggression they had in their first four games.
Middendorp criticised Khama Billiat for having played for Zimbabwe in a World Cup qualifier and also said Siphelele Ntshangase would not feature in his team because of his style of play.