September 25, 2021

Mathoho, Moleko availability for Kaizer Chiefs’ PSL title decider in big question marks – Middendorp

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Amakhosi could enter the crucial final day of the season without two key defenders due to injuries

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has expressed concerns over the fitness of defenders Eric Mathoho and Kgotso Moleko for Saturday’s Premier Soccer League decider against Baroka FC.

The duo did not last Wednesday’s penultimate fixture against Chippa United which Chiefs won 1-0 at Orlando Stadium to set-up a terrific final day of the league title race.

Central defender Mathoho could not continue injured with 15 minutes remaining and was replaced by Siyabonga Ngezana, while right-back Moleko had been forced out earlier on 10 minutes into the second half with Ramahlwe Mphahlele coming on for him.

Chiefs even conceded a goal against Chippa after the pair had left the pitch, but the strike was disallowed by referee Jelly Chavani and doubts over the availability of the two could be worrying for Middendorp.

“There are some question marks. Moleko is definitely a big question mark. With Eric Mathoho‚ we have to look at how far he will be recovered‚” said Middendorp as per Sowetan Live.

“Khama [Billiat] worked his arse off providing metres in terms of working for the team. That cost a lot of energy too. But at the moment it’s three days to go. We have around 60‚ 65 hours’ time starting tomorrow [Thursday] morning preparing the team‚ refreshing the team.

“And we will see. It’s a little bit early to say‚ ‘this player and this player are not available’. Important for us is that we didn’t pick up any yellow cards. There will be no suspensions.”

Saturday’s do-or-die encounter is a match in which Middendop needs all his best man to be fully fit.

The German revealed how he made a cautious substitution against Chippa to preserve Lebogang Manyama whom he took out after 76 minutes for Antony Akumu.

“And, for example, Lebogang Manyama played 60‚ 65 minutes,” Middendorp said.

“We had to take him out. It was a very clear order from the medical staff not to go into a risk and he gets re-injured and we cannot use him on the weekend. So no yellow cards. I hope each and everybody will be available‚ refreshing with a view to Saturday’s game.”

Already, forward Leonardo Castro and goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi have left the bio-bubble due to injuries and Chiefs are praying that there would not be more fitness casualties ahead of Saturday’s showdown.