Losing Maluleka was painful, admits Chiefs coach Middendorp

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

Kaizer Chiefs coach, Ernst Middendorp has admitted that having to let one of his core players in George Maluleka before the season was concluded was a difficult and painful decision.

Maluleka signed a pre-contract with Sundowns in January and his stay at Chiefs officially ended in June.

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Amakhosi are believed to have tried to extend his stay for a further three months so as to finish the season which was suspended due to the Covid-19 outbreak in March. But a deal could not be struck and the influential midfielder has since joined Masandawana.

Middendorp believes that if Maluleka was going to a different club a deal would have been possible.

“We discussed it and the player was involved but we came to the conclusion that it was a delicate situation. If his new club was SuperSport (United) or any other team who are not competing with Chiefs for the Championship it would have been a different story.
“But the team was Sundowns and it was clear that we had to make a decision. On one side it was painful because he was one of the core players that we had built the team around at the start of the season,” said the Amakhosi mentor.
Middendorp said he has been working on a new midfield combination as he tries to find someone to partner with Willard Katsande in the centre.
“We have options and we have worked on them and I am quite confident we will get it right in pairing the central midfield with Katsande and another player. We have two or three options but we have not made a final decision yet.”
On playing without the fans, Middendorp said it is something they will have to get used to as it is necessary.

“It is something we are not used to. It is something we have to talk about and we have already and will highlight it again to get the players to know that there is support outside. It’s a protocol we have to deal with,” he said.

Mamelodi Sundowns sign George Maluleka from Kaizer Chiefs. SOURCE: Sundowns website.

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