Chiefs coach blames bad luck, pitch for Nedbank Cup exit

Chiefs coach blames bad luck, pitch for Nedbank Cup exit
Yagan Sasman of Kaizer Chiefs during the 2020 Nedbank Cup Last 16 match between Highlands Park and Kaizer Chiefs on 22 February 2020 at Makhulong Stadium, Tembisa Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Sunday Feb 23, 2020. 14:00

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has blamed bad luck and the state of the Makhulong Stadium pitch for his team’s surprise exit from the Nedbank Cup.

The Amakhosi exited South Africa’s national cup at the last 16 round on Saturday, going down 5-4 on penalties against hosts Highlands Park after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.

“Ja, so a penalty shoot-out in the end not qualify us is a little bit of a situation where probably the team lacked a little bit more luck in the end, [Highlands Park] tougher made tough,” Middendorp told SuperSport after the match, as quoted by Sport 24 .

The German added, “It was very difficult regarding the field, this passing, a lot of possession moments where we missed the ball too long or the ball not getting into the direction of our players.

“It’s really not to stand here and look for excuses but I think everyone who was part of this afternoon knows it was a little bit of up and down and good, unfortunately, we have not made it, we have to compliment the opponent, congratulations to Highlands Park.”

Middendorp admitted that his double substitution at half time – which saw both Anthony Akumu and Bernard Parker pulled off – was purely for tactical reasons.

“I think actually [Anthony] Akumu had his first 45 minutes, we had a bit of a miscommunication, not really as we wanted to see it. George [Maluleka] is good at complimenting [Khama] Billiat in the central, we got a little bit of the ball in this passing,” he explained.

“What we tried to do, receive it and passing it through the midfield, good. Dumisani Zuma is always a player who can win one against one, with his variability can give us something.

“In the end, we have seen it but, through the length of the entire extra-time, you need a field. You need something, if you want to do your dribbling if you want to do your combination passing, it [more space] was not there, good that’s the reason why I changed.”

Chiefs will now prepare themselves for a Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium on the afternoon of Saturday 29 February.

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