Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has taken a mild swipe at their closest Absa Premiership title rivals, Mamelodi Sundowns by suggesting that they signed George Maluleka to cripple his team so they could have a better chance at clinching the title.
Maluleka signed a pre-contract with Sundowns in January and left the Naturena-based team at the end of June after failing to agree with the club on a short term extension to finish the season.
Earlier in the week, Middendorp conceded that losing the midfielder was ‘painful’ and left a big gap he was scrambling to fill.
Speaking after Amakhosi’s Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw against Bidvest at Orlando Stadium, Middendorp suggested Sundowns may have forced Maluleka to not accept a prolonged stay with his team.
“We’ve said a lot about Maluleka. It was a good step from an opponent inside the league to provide a certain direction [in the league title race],” said the mentor when asked about Maluleka’s departure.
Middendorp used youngster Nkosingiphile Ngcobo in the position that was played by Maluleka for the Wits game.
“From what we have seen at training we have seen a lot of good moments of him contributing especially in attack. He did well in this game. Had some good passes but at the same time we have to spare him that’s why we replaced him,” he said.
The 61-year-old mentor said he doesn’t consider age when he picks his team but rather the ability and possible contribution.
“I don’t look at the age of the player, if he is part of the squad he deserves a look in. I just look at what is happening at training. If somebody is in the squad of Kaizer Chiefs he should be ready to play.”