Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football writer
2 minute read
3 Oct 2019
9:54 am

Chiefs injury list grows

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Kaizer Chiefs' rise to the top of the Absa Premiership standings early in the season has been a gruelling round that sees the team losing players to injury in almost every game.

Kearyn Baccus of Kaizer Chiefs and his Chiefs teammates celebrate his winning goal during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 game between Cape Town City and Kaizer Chiefs at Newlands Stadium. (Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix)

In the past three games – all wins against AmaZulu, Baroka and Golden Arrows – all of Amakhosi’s substitutions were forced by injuries and the casualty list keeps growing.

In recent games Chiefs have lost influential players like Kearyn Baccus, Samir Nurkovic, Reeve Frosler, George Maluleka, Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya and Itumeleng Khune.

READ: Pitso taunts Kaizer Chiefs

It is however incredible that the team have managed to keep up their performances and grind out results.

But coach Ernst Middendorp is not worried about it as he somehow expected it with the heavy workload his players have as they have a tight fixture schedule which ill-affords them enough recovery time. Chiefs have been playing three games in a week.

“If you go through it and look into the individual tolerance, you find that with Khune it was a collision – three players going into each other. What can you do? He comes out worst, it happens. With Ntiya-Ntiya it was a collision as well in the AmaZulu game. There is nothing you can do.

“With Frosler it’s normal overuse. He had not been playing in over 10 months. We have tried to prepare him and we have seen that sometimes after 40 minutes or 45 minutes he starts cramping.
“George had to stretch to try and get the ball… that happens,” explained Middendorp.

READ: Chiefs coach says 80% of people at the club don’t like him

“What we do is very clear, we know we have a long season ahead and we will be overloading the players until the middle of October, then we go to maintenance – that’s our plan. It is possible that not everybody will be ready.

“Then the injuries come in. We just have to manage them. Just as long as we can have six to 10 days for recovery.

“That’s what it is and I am not worried at all, we just go through a day after the game looking into it in detail. At the moment everything is difficult to explain. We will continue with managing the workload and our planning,” he said.

Middendorp also commented on his love-hate relationship with the club’s supporters, saying he understands that 80% of them are not so keen of the idea of him guiding the team.

“It’s not about my happiness,” he said answering a question about how he feels in his job after a run of good results.

“I have my joy on the field when I work with the players, I like it. But if I am talking to the media or in the press conference I sometimes have to be a bit more concentrated and not go my natural way. That’s football, you lose some, you win some.”

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