Will Chiefs miss Maluleka in tonight’s clash against Wits?

George Maluleka. Pic: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

It is a huge task and having to do it without one of the players who were core to driving Kaizer Chiefs to the top of the Absa Premiership standings will be ‘painful’, coach Ernst Middendorp has revealed.

Amakhosi resume their Premiership campaign this evening with a game against Bidvest Wits at their new home, Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.

READ: Hunt banks on ‘devoted’ Wits players to beat Chiefs

Since the break which came after the outbreak of Covid-19 and eventually the lockdown, Amakhosi have lost influential midfielder George Maluleka who has been key to their success so far in the race for league honours where Mamelodi Sundowns are breathing heavily down their neck.

Masandawana cut Amakhosi’s lead to just three points after their goalless draw against Orlando Pirates on Tuesday night.

“It is definitely what we were wall looking for,” said Middendorp of the resumption and finishing of games.

“We have a huge task ahead of us and we know the expectation of each and everyone of the (club’s) stakeholders and our players are focused to make it happen,” said the German-born mentor.

READ: Pirates do Chiefs a favour in title race after Sundowns draw

Amakhosi are top of the standings with 48 points and looked a solid bet for the title before the break. It will now however be interesting to see if they can continue with the same form and aggression they had.

“We returned to training at beginning of July and we approached it in a careful way aware of not overworking the players… and I have always made it clear that the earliest we can get back without pushing them into risk would be the 14th of August and now it is the 12th that we start.

“We have had just two days of rest in the past six weeks. The rest was working and getting ready for this big task. We are aware that we have to fulfill the expectation. I have seen a good mood and attitude in the team and everyone is ready for it.”

On Wits, Middendorp said he expects a tough match that will test his team’s guts. Wits have had some action as they resumed against Sundowns in a Nedbank Cup tie last weekend.

“I have seen Wits against Sundowns and I support the opinion of Gavin Hunt (Wits coach) that it was a close one and they didn’t deserve defeat. They challenged Sundowns. We should not get carried away that they have sold the club and the players will not be focused, they showed the opposite of that.

“It is an interesting opener for us and we will have to be at our best to get through,” he said.

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