Tornado FC give Chiefs a wake-up call

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs’ narrow Nedbank Cup win against Tornado FC‚ in which they squeaked to a 1-0 extra-time win in East London on Sunday‚ was a wake-up call‚ veteran Amakhosi striker Bernard Parker has admitted.

But Parker also said the trickiness of encounters such as the one against Chiefs’ firedup Vodacom League opponents in the Nedbank last-32 should not be underestimated.

Playing the biggest game of their lives‚ Tornado forced Chiefs to extra time from a goalless opening 90 minutes.

The sponsors would have held their breaths. With the other two drawcards‚ Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, out of the competition on Saturday‚ Chiefs stood on the verge of elimination too.

Tornado defender Abongile Twani’s own goal just after the start of extra time finally gave Amakhosi the breakthrough.

“You know‚ it’s the beautiful game. You’ve seen‚ as well‚ what happened to the other teams and internationally too with the FA Cup‚” Parker said on Tuesday.

“These so-called smaller teams come out guns blazing‚ firstly to make a statement‚ secondly to play for a contract and thirdly‚ also‚ to push for their club’s ambitions to progress further in cup competition.

“And it’s not easy with us‚ as players – we are all human – to also prepare ourselves as a big team where we are going to go and kill the game‚ and we end up getting shocked‚ or surprised.

“But it was a wake-up call for us. Even coach [Ernst] Middendorp said to us that in his 25-year coaching career he just doesn’t know to motivate and keep the guys focused when a Premier League team plays against a smaller team.

“Even if you motivate your players‚ and they go in with that motivation‚ they can get shocked and surprised.

“Then maybe if you tell the players to keep calm they can relax‚ and get another shock.

“If the big team hits the right note then you come out easily victorious. But for the smaller team it’s the game of their lives.

“So it was a bit of a scary one for us. But we took a lot of positives because our performance was good. It’s just that goals weren’t there for us.”

Fifth-placed Chiefs meet onform‚ fourth-placed Cape Town City – unbeaten in six league and cup games – in the Absa Premiership at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Wednesday (kick-off 7.30pm).