Ernst Middendorp has reiterated that Itumeleng Khune is not fit enough to play for Kaizer Chiefs, ruling the Amakhosi shot-stopper out of contention to play against Bloemfontein Celtic in Amakhosi’s next Absa Premiership match on December 7.
Khune last played for Chiefs in September, going off with a groin injury early in a league match against Baroka FC, and Middendorp already said he did not know when the former Bafana Bafana captain would be back, ahead of Chiefs’ Telkom Knockout semifinal against Maritzburg United.
The club, however, caused confusion by publishing on their website that Khune was fit, though true to the head coach’s word, he did not feature in Sunday’s game against Maritzburg, or Wednesday evening’s
4-0 league win at Stellenbosch.
“Let me give you an example,” said Middendorp this week, as he picked up the Absa Premiership Coach of the Month Award for September and October.
“I went for surgery, I had a knee operation, it was 14 days ago last Tuesday.
“It was excellent work, and on Monday I had a final meeting with the surgeon and he said ‘you are 100 percent medically fit, but now be careful. Step by step, build it up, don’t turn on it, don’t kick a ball.
“I am medically fit, but not in a way I can run around … it is the same with certain players. I am not happy if we pump it to the public (that he is fit). When you say a player is medically fit, one piece of the expression is forgotten and you read that he is fit.
“He is not, he is joining training and getting himself in a condition to be competitive at a certain time. I don’t see it now (him coming back), with a view to the next game and that is all I am interested in,” added Middendorp, on when exactly he did see Khune playing again.
With Daniel Akpeyi, the Player of the Month for September and October, doing well, and Bruce Bvuma proving an able deputy too, there is absolutely no pressure on Middendorp to rush Khune back in any case.
Akpeyi has kept five clean sheets in his last six league matches, as Chiefs have opened up a ten point lead over Mamelodi Sundowns at the top of the table.For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.