It’s the ‘Master vs The Student’ collision when Chiefs take on Celtic on Saturday

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It was under the current Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp when Bloemfontein Celtic co-caretaker coach Lehlohonolo Seema started to take a keen interest in coaching back in 2013 and he was mentored for his current role.

Saturday evening (20:15) the master will meet the student when Amakhosi host Isiwelele in an Absa Premiership game at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Seema, the former Lesotho international and Orlando Pirates captain has spoken glowingly about what he’s learnt from Middendorp and the German also likes how the former centre-back continues to grow in this role.

Middendorp is known for being specific on doing his own opponent scouting analysis and last weekend he was in Limpopo when Celtic beat the struggling Polokwane City 1-0. And he’s picked up some key points ahead of Saturday evening’s game.

The Celtic connection in the Chiefs camp will also see the return of Bafana Bafana centre-back Eric “Tower” Mathoho who has missed the last two matches due to suspension after he was sent-off against Orlando Pirates in November.

South African U23 international Siyabonga Ngezana had done well in the previous game against Stellenbosch FC, but Middendorp says Mathoho will start on Saturday.

Chiefs has not only had a good start into this new season, 10 points clear at the top after 12 matches played. Middendorp has also continued where he left off last season by introducing more youngsters in the team and helping to cut the average age in his squad. And this is something he’s not apologetic off and he’s preparing some young players to take over in few seasons to come.

There’s a tendency in SA of throwing youngsters into the deep end and once they fail to make the grade they are dumped. This is where Middendorp says its important to introduce them gradually and prepare them thoroughly for the big stage.

At at a big team like Chiefs, its not just about promoting the youth talent only, their model requires that they challenge for the honours season in, season out. And it’s for that reason that Middendorp tries to make the composition of the squad to work for their objectives.

Report by Velile Mnyandu