Sunday Apr 05, 2020. 16:00
Kaizer Chiefs attacking midfielder Kabelo Mahlasela has admitted that he struggled to adapt to the style of coach Ernst Middendorp.
The skilful 29-year-old did not feature in any matches for the Soweto giants through the first half of the 2019-20 season, before he was sent on loan to Polokwane City back in January.
While Mahlasela has at least managed some game time with Rise and Shine this year, he acknowledges that things did not go his way at Chiefs.
“Maybe the coach’s philosophy didn’t suit me you know, let me just put it that way. Maybe the coach’s philosophy didn’t suit the type of player I am,” he told KickOff.
The player understands that the Amakhosi’s winning form meant Middendorp would continue to play in a more direct style – one he is ill suited for.
“When you look, also my height… okay, Chiefs are playing the way they are playing but they are winning games. The most important thing is to win games you know, and if Chiefs win games without Mahlasela with the kind of football they are playing, it becomes difficult [for me].
“The coach can’t just change a winning team. You can’t fix it if it’s not broken. Playing style might be the part of the problem but I believe everyone should be given a fair chance to express himself, to play, and then if you fail, you fail. And if you make it, you make it.
“I think Chiefs as a team they gave me a whole lot of chances, they gave me the right support. I wouldn’t say Chiefs never gave me a chance. Chiefs gave me a chance you know, a big chance.
“Not every player here in South Africa gets to wear the Chiefs jersey you know. So Chiefs gave me a chance, and I’m glad… maybe that’s why I’m saying to you, maybe the philosophy of the coach didn’t suit me.
“Maybe he tried, the coach, he tried but he felt that maybe the philosophy is not suiting Mahlasela, plus the height you know.
“Yes, you have to adapt to different philosophies but I think this one was beyond my control you know. There was nothing I could do about it.”
If and when South Africa’s Premier Soccer League season resumes, Mahlasela will hope to help Polokwane avoid relegation from the top flight.