Middendorp defends Chiefs midfielder Ekstein

Hendrick Ekstein of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Xola Mlambo of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium. (Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix)

Hendrick Ekstein of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Xola Mlambo of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium. (Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix)

The midfielder gave the ball away, ultimately leading to Orlando Pirates finding the equaliser in the 80th minute through Thembinkosi Lorch.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has come out in defence of Pule Ekstein following his costly mistake in the Soweto derby.

The midfielder gave the ball away that ultimately led to Orlando Pirates finding the equaliser in the 80th minute through Thembinkosi Lorch.

“For players to grow and really be able to play 90 minutes, be consistent, responsible, accountable and express their talent and skills, you need games over a long period,” Middendorp told reporters after the game.

READ: Mixed feelings for Chiefs coach after derby draw

“You need training to get it right and find the right tools. Hendrick is an outstanding player. He isn’t a youngster anymore. He is 28, if I’m not mistaken. This is definitely somebody who can carry the team forward, with his ideas and what he regularly does.

“It happens (that players make mistakes). Unfortunately, what can we do? We could have corrected it. That’s part of the team work. We could have closed space and be a little bit more alert, then nothing would have happened. Unfortunately, it happened but he is an outstanding player and one of the best players I have ever worked with,” added the German coach.

Following the derby disappointment, Chiefs will change their focus to Sunday’s Nedbank Cup last-16 match against ABC Motsepe side The Magic.

The match is set to be played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

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