Chiefs in goalie quandary
Decision time with Khune out
Ex-Kaizer Chiefs star Brian Baloyi reckons the goalkeeper position is more of a mental issue than physical and coach Ernst Middendorp has a big call to make ahead of the Soweto derby on Saturday.
Chiefs have goalkeeping challenges ahead of the clash against Orlando Pirates with Itumeleng Khune still out with a shoulder injury and Virgil Vries struggling to fill in the void.
The last time Amakhosi faced their old rivals they suffered a 2-1 loss in the Telkom Knockout semifinal in November under Italian Giovanni Solinas
The Namibian international may not be in the right frame of mind after another howler against Cape Town City in their 1-0 defeat last week.
He also blundered against Mamelodi Sundowns last month when Chiefs lost 2-1.
Both matches were at the FNB Stadium where Chiefs will clash against Pirates in the biggest match on SA’s football calendar.
It is unlikely Middendorp would throw Bruce Bvuma into the deep end with just one appearance this season, in the 2-2 draw against Bloemfontein Celtic six months ago.
Chiefs’ other option is Nigerian international Daniel Akpeyi, who is new after joining from Chippa United.
Baloyi told the Sowetan yesterday that Middendorp had to assess Vries’s mental state before making a decision on who to play.
“Vries has been struggling with a couple of howlers,” Baloyi said.
“As much as we want to support him, but obviously he’s struggling and it would depend on the coach if he really knows his mental capacity, if he can take the pressure.
“After those setbacks, can he take the pressure and can he use it to redeem himself?” Baloyi said.
“Knowing that the coach is thinking about changing him, sometimes it would take him to say to the coach that, ‘please, I want to play in this game and redeem myself’.
“Or it could be at training where he shows with preparations that he can take it.
“He can change the mind of the coach as much as the club has gone out to sign another goalkeeper,” Baloyi said.
“It’s not going to be an easy one for the coaches to call.”
Chiefs midfielder George Maluleka feels the current team is completely different from the one that was blown away in the previous Soweto derby.
The last time Amakhosi faced their old rivals they suffered a 2-1 loss in the Telkom Knockout semifinal in November under the Italian Giovanni Solinas.
“You’ve seen that we haven’t played one formation and we have been able to change things up,” Maluleka said.
“Even Pirates, they do the same [alter formations]. It will be an interesting one.
“They don’t know how we are going to come out. Tactics will play a big part.
“It’s dynamic with different formation and different players so now there is a lot more to offer,” Maluleka said.
Middendorp is looking to snap Bucs’ undefeated run in his second stint at Chiefs.
During his first stint, between 2005 and 2007, the German-born tactician was undefeated in the clash with three wins and a draw.
With Chiefs on 27 points – 10 adrift of leaders Bidvest Wits – Maluleka, 30, says it will be key that the team keep within touching distance.
“The points would keep us there with the [leading] pack.
“The points difference is not that much and we need to keep in touch. A lot can still happen,” he said.
“If we can just collect points, especially at home where we need to be ruthless. To go on all those years without winning silverware is painful.
“To have that in the back of your mind as players is a lot to take in. But we are not giving up and there is still hope.”