Willard Katsande’s days at Kaizer Chiefs under current coach Ernst Middendorp are not certain and his response on Thursday on why he hasn’t been playing was unclear.

With Chiefs sitting on top of the Absa Premiership on goal difference after only six league matches played, it’s not easy to ask the coach to change his winning formula.

But it’s a convincing response that’s needed. Katsande has been a regular in the Chiefs squad for the past eight years but things changed when Middendorp arrived in December 2018.

This season, he’s only featured in two matches, managing only four minutes in one of those games.

Does Middendorp prefer a different type of a grinder compared to the Zimbabwean international?

Middendorp has spoken glowingly about the role veteran campaigner Bernard Parker plays in this Chiefs squad. Against AmaZulu FC on Tuesday, Parker was moved to a defensive position and that’s what was done when Chiefs beat Cape Town City as well in August.

The 33-year-old has started and finished five of the last six matches and was only subbed once, at his age you would expect Middendorp to manage him playing minutes, but the German-born coach says Parker is a vital cog in his squad.

South African U20 international Yagan Sasman, who joined Chiefs from Ajax Cape Town two months ago made his debut during the 2-0 win over AmaZulu FC on Tuesday and Middendorp was impressed with what he saw.

Middendorp had to make three forced substitutions on the day following injuries to Samir Nurkovic, Reeve Frosler and Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya.

Just before Thursday’s training session at the Chiefs Village in Naturena, Middendorp gave an update ahead of another crucial encounter against Baroka FC at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, in the Bafana Bafana squad announced on Wednesday by head coach Molefi Ntseki to play Mali in an international friendly in October in Port Elizabeth, Eric “Tower” Mathoho is the only Chiefs player in the team.

This follows a great start this season, featuring in all the matches and scoring two critical goals.

Groin and knee injuries kept him out for almost the entire season in the previous season and Middendorp has more on what the 29-year-old, who recently renewed his contract at Amakhosi, brings to this team.


– Report by Velile Mnyandu