Kaizer Chiefs have prepared with greater detail for Baroka FC in the Absa Premiership on Saturday at FNB Stadium than they did for Cape Town City in the Nedbank Cup‚ Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp has said.
And that should be some level of detail. Because Chiefs produced arguably their most polished‚ dynamic performance since Middendorp’s arrival in December shutting City out for most of the 90 minutes in their 2-0 Nedbank quarterfinal win at Mbombela Stadium.
Middendorp‚ aware of the threat of a relegation-threatened team – Telkom Knockout champions Baroka are in second-last place on the log – and the threat of complacency against an underdog‚ especially after a high against City‚ wants to cover his bases against Wedson Nyirenda’s Limpopo team.
“We have had experience of this – the game against Maritzburg United‚” Chiefs’ coach said‚ referring to his team’s 1-0 win against last-placed United at FNB two league games ago.
“Baroka are in the deep end. We are preparing probably even more into the details than we did in the last game – the cup game against Cape Town City. That tells you the story.
“And that tells you a little bit – that they try to position players in different areas.
“The centreback plays right-back‚ the left-back is quite consistent‚ the goalkeeper remains the same‚ the position behind the strikers [stays the same].
“The wingers have a value for them‚ changing from left to right and quite dynamic. They are always looking for the counter‚ looking for your mistakes.
“But‚ OK‚ all these things we have to handle. It will probably be by finding the right balance between defending and attacking.
“I can tell you it’s a very tough match when you play so-called underdogs‚ so-called teams where the expectations are high that you have to win it.
“Bayern Munich played against [Bundesliga 2 team] Heidenheim [in the German Cup on Wednesday]. Heidenheim came back and won 5-4‚ in Munich.
“And that’s a bit similar if you are Kaizer Chiefs and you play against The Magic FC‚ or Maritzburg United. You have to win this game.
“And you don’t do it by being half-hearted.
“If we are not prepared to play 100 percent in everybody’s position‚ preparing and executing the game‚ at the end of the day there is no chance for us to win this game.”
Chiefs are in seventh place in the league.
Apart from seeking to prevent an unprecedented fourth season without a trophy in the Nedbank‚ Middendorp’s significantly tightened-up outfit are also aiming for the best possible PSL finish to tee themselves up for a much-improved 2019-20 season.
PSL this weekend –
Maritzburg United v Bloemfontein Celtic (Harry Gwala Stadium‚ 8pm)
Bidvest Wits v Orlando Pirates (Bidvest Stadium‚ 3pm)
Lamontville Golden Arrows v Cape Town City (Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium‚ 3pm)
Kaizer Chiefs v Baroka (FNB Stadium‚ 6pm)
AmaZulu v Chippa United (King Zwelithini Stadium‚ 8.15pm)
Polokwane City v Black Leopards (Peter Mokaba Stadium‚ 3pm)