They’re in the midst of their best title-challenge in years, but Kaizer Chiefs’ head coach will lose a handful of players in the preparation for their Telkom Knockout semifinal.
The Glamour Boys are clear at the top of the Absa Premiership and into the final four of the TKO following wins over Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, and in a good position to end the longest trophy drought in the club’s history.
South Africa’s U23s will get their Africa Cup of Nations campaign underway this weekend when they take on Zambia on Saturday evening in Cairo, but they have had problems with player availability due to games happening in the Absa Premiership.
The Amakhosi duo of Siyabonga Ngezana and Happy Mashiane were both named in David Notoane’s squad for the tournament, though they will only be available for the second game against Ivory Coast once the small matter of this weekend’s Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates has been played out.
Ngezana and Mashiane are set to jet out of South Africa after the derby in time for Tuesday’s game, while Erick Mathoho will join up with the senior national team as Chiefs’ only representative in Molefi Ntseki’s Bafana Bafana squad for the 2021 AFCON qualifiers against Ghana and South Sudan.
In other international news, Ernst Middendorp will also see Lazarous Kambole and Khama Billiat leave South African shores to team up with Zambia and Zimbabwe’s teams as they do battle against each other in their qualifying games for the international break.
While the German will be pleased to see his players called up to represent their countries this month, he will also be acutely aware of the fact that they will miss several training sessions as they prepare to face Maritzburg United in their TKO semi, making it slightly tougher for him to get ready to take on one of the most in-form teams in the league currently.