JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp wasn’t giving anything away in terms of who will take the gloves against Orlando Pirates on Saturday, but did indicate that the up-and-coming Happy Mashiane could feature in the Soweto derby.
Amakhosi host Pirates at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon in what is the 166th edition of South Africa’s most famous footballing rivalry.
Much of the pre-match talk regarding Chiefs has focused on the goalkeeping department.
After some nightmare displays from Virgil Vries in between the poles since replacing the injured Itumeleng Khune, the Glamour Boys signed Daniel Akpeyi from Chippa United last week.
With Khune out for the season, the other options are Bruce Bvuma and Brylon Petersen.
Middendorp, though, wasn’t in the mood for revealing much on Thursday, and Chiefs fans will have to wait until a couple of hours before kick off on Saturday to find out who will be in goal.
“We had our issues, no doubt about it after the injury of Itumeleng Khune. Bruce Bvuma got some experience with the Diski (reserve) team last weekend.
“I think both teams have probably each three goalkeepers (in the reckoning). Let’s see, we have goalkeepers available, and I’m quite sure we will make the right decision,” the German said.
Mashiane, meanwhile, was only recently promoted from the reserve side, and has featured in just two first team matches.
But the versatile 21-year-old has caught the eye at left back, with many Amakhosi fans very excited about what he can bring to the team.
And according to Middendorp, the youngster appears to have the right mindset to handle the pressure and is very much in the reckoning to play on Saturday.
“It was not only the soccer playing, I observed him. I looked into him, is he strong enough to handle certain pressure moments?
“He did well in the Nedbank Cup first round, he played the next game. He added value.
— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) February 7, 2019
“He looks strong, he looks mentally prepared. You have to decide, can he contribute with his style? With his type of playing, he has a good chance to play,” Middendorp said.
Victory on Saturday could boil down to who wants it more, and which set of players can handle the heat at the FNB Stadium, said the Amakhosi coach.
“I would like to see more commitment, more bravery, more ambition and more focus. Comparing to other league games, (the derby) has a certain environment.”
African News Agency (ANA)