Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
26 Aug 2019
9:52 am

Middendorp happy with Chiefs’ progress

Sibongiseni Gumbi

"It is a long way to go and we are aware there will be little ups and downs but in the end it is about the progression over the long season," said Middendorp.

Ernst Middendorp of Kaizer Chiefs (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Wasted chances meant Kaizer Chiefs lost out on collecting three points after drawing 1-1 with SuperSport United at the FNB Stadium on Saturday evening but there were positives that gave coach Ernst Middendorp hope about his team’s progression.

For one, striker Samir Nurkovic delivered a top-class performance and showed he has the character to carry the team up front and scoring his first goal in Chiefs’ colours will boost his confidence considerably.

The Serbian striker could have easily scored a hat-trick with Khama Billiat and Dumisani Zuma also coming close after Nurkovic had given Chiefs an early lead. But Matsatsantsa’s in-form attacker Bradley Grobler denied the Glamour Boys victory with the equaliser five minutes from the end.

READ: Middendorp rues missed chances in Chiefs draw

Grobler also almost caused heartache for the fans but his last-minute penalty was saved by Daniel Akpeyi who also had a decent game.

“It is a long way to go and we are aware there will be little ups and downs but in the end it is about the progression over the long season,” said Middendorp after the match.

“The players we brought back (from injury) and the players we brought in have to be unified to have a good team effort at all times both home and away,” he said.

Another positive was that captain Itumeleng Khune is closer to making a comeback to the team as he made the match-day squad for the first time in almost eight months. Khune has been out with a shoulder injury since late last year.

Middendorp said there was no need to rush the keeper and he would be brought in gradually after a long absence.

“At this moment we have a win-win situation with Khune. He was in the squad and got to feel being back in the team environment. The last time he was in the team was in December 2018.”

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