With just a caution away from missing the much-anticipated Soweto derby next weekend, the question is: will Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp risk his three key players who are sitting on three yellow cards?
Right-back Reeve Frosler‚ centre-back Daniel Cardoso and attacking midfielder Lebogang Manyama are all a suspension away from missing the Soweto derby next weekend.
Their current scenario is, if they are cautioned in Chiefs’ Nedbank Cup last-16 clash against Highlands Park tomorrow, the trio will be suspended for the crucial Absa Premiership encounter against bitter rivals Orlando Pirates next Saturday.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane this week encouraged his players to deliberately get yellow cards so they could miss their Nedbank Cup clash against ABC Motsepe side Vaal University of Technology on Sunday. His suspended players – Hlompho Kekana, Gaston Sirino, Mosa Lebusa and Sibusiso Vilakazi – will return in their next league game against Cape Town City.
Middendorp finds himself in a tough position.
Does he risk the trio or save them for the league clash?
Chiefs’ position at the top of the Absa Premiership table has come under threat after they dropped eight points since the beginning of the year.
Amakhosi lost to SuperSport United and Maritzburg United and drew with Black Leopards and in the process allowed second-placed Sundowns to narrow the gap to four points.
A win for Amakhosi over Highlands Park tomorrow will go a long way to boost their confidence after last weekend’s loss to Maritzburg.
But Highlands won’t be pushovers as they will be out to avenge the 3-0 they suffered at the hands of Chiefs earlier last month.
Elsewhere, Leopards welcome amateur side Amavarara at Thohoyandou Stadium tonight. The Venda-side should not have a problem in brushing aside the ABC Motsepe League campaigners to progress to the quarterfinals. But the club from the Eastern Cape has already sent a warning that “underestimate us at your own peril”.
Other Nedbank Cup Last 16 fixtures:
Saturday: Happy Wanderers vs TS Sporting
Mbombela United vs Real Kings
Bloemfontein Celtic vs Maritzburg United