Many were surprised to see Willard Katsande in the Kaizer Chiefs starting line-up against Orlando Pirates and not George Maluleka, who was – after all – voted by the fans to take his place in the Carling Black Label Cup.
Amakhosi, initially, did not offer a detailed explanation why ‘Mido’ had suddenly been left out when he’d given media interviews earlier in the week and looked to be in fine health just days before the Soweto Derby on Saturday.
It was left to coach Ernst Middendorp, then, to face the media and make it clear what had let to the change.
“George was injured,” the coach told reporters when quizzed specifically about the player. “We had football sprints with maximum rests in the Wednesday training session – four times five‚ three times 10‚ three times 25.In the second last, he got a hamstring issue. We sent him for an ultrasound. To make it very clear, I would have loved to see him on the field. He had a good pre-season so far.But please‚ respect if somebody got an injury‚ somebody is not available. I think‚ let’s take it like this.”
Chiefs face Highlands Park away on Sunday in their opening Absa Premiership fixture and Middendorp did not reveal whether Maluleka will be available or not.