In contrast to the hype engulfing Saturday’s Soweto Derby clash between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, Ernst Middendorp is being modest in his approach.
It is normally said there’s no form-book heading into the derby, but Amakhosi fans have ample reason to believe that they’ll walk away victors when they clash with Orlando Pirates, at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm) in the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout.
Chiefs are currently enjoying good form in domestic football, winning seven matches, drawing two and losing one in the league.
That feat has seen the Glamour Boys top the log standings with 22 points, while the Telkom Knockout is their earliest chance of ending the four-year drought.
They’ll, however, know that taking things for granted against Pirates would be naive, despite the Buccaneers’ poor season thus far.
Chiefs will, also, be mindful that they lost to Pirates in last season’s Telkom Knockout 2-1.
“In a Cup game, the target is that we go to the next round. The preparations are done intensively, analysing the game and watching them live. We are preparing ourselves with what needs to be done to get to a certain solution. Today is Wednesday already, so we don’t have a lot of time for training and so it’s working with the mental capacity,” Middendorp said.
Despite their impressive run of form, Middendorp says that there are few elements of their game they need to improve on, one being the eradication of too many mistakes.
“If you are not in the right positioning of your defence, then there’s an error. And if you are capable of making less mistakes, then you have a chance of being successful,” Midddendorp said.
“There was an article a few days ago, talking about ‘highly celebrated, and the ball possession being fantastic for the eye’. But I am asking what does it mean having ball-possession in your half? Or having possession closer to the centre-line? Where’s the purpose?”
Chiefs and Pirates head to their TKO tussle following morale boosting wins. On Sunday, Amakhosi defeated reigning Sundowns 2-0 away from home, while the Sea Robbers were 1-0 victors away to Highlands Park on Tuesday night.
The Sea Robbers may be blowing hot and cold under coach Rhulani Mokwena but there’s been elements of positivity in his team.
“I haven’t worked with him (Mokwena) and haven’t seen him being responsible for a team over a long period. But I think that it’s good for a club to bring in a coach with new flair and ideas,” Middendorp said. “Over the years build your own reputation; it doesn’t matter whether you are stubborn or serious coach. I always tell coaches to be themselves, they shouldn’t copy.”