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Mathoho & Two Others Suspended - Gordinho Set For Lifeline?

Kaizer Chiefs will be without three of their usual starting XI due to suspensions for their Telkom Knockout semi-final clash against Maritzbug United. One of the options to start include the little-used Lorenzo Gordinho.

After the hard-fought Soweto Derby win against Orlando Pirates, three Kaizer Chiefs players will miss their next game after Erick Mathoho was red carded, Daniel Akpeyi accrued his fourth yellow card of the season for time-wasting, and Willard Katsande was cautioned for a late challenge on Fortune Makaringe. 

Read: Ntseki’s Concern – ‘Obvious Choices’ In Bafana Squad

Mathoho’s Replacement Options Limited

At centre back, Middendorp’s options to replace Erick Mathoho are limited by Siyabonga Ngezana’s involvement in Egypt in the under 23 Africa Cup of Nations. With South Africa having a semi-final and either final or third-place play-off still to come, Ngezana will miss the crucial Telkom Knockout match for his club. 

That would leave three clear options to step into centre back. Lorenzo Gordinho could get what would be just his second start of the season, or Kgotso Moleko could be another solution in that role having been converted to centre back last season. Gordinho made his sole start this season at left back against Highlands Park. He recently played the final eight minutes against Chippa United.

Another option could be the one that Middendorp took in the Shell Helix Ultra Cup when Mathoho was on international duty – moving Yagan Sasman to centre back and bringing in one of Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya or Philani Zulu at left back. Njabulo Blom and Ramahlwe Mphahlele are outside bets to replace Mathoho too. 

Read: Watch: Phiri’s Piledriver For Bafana 

Who Replaces Akpeyi?

Amakhosi have two other senior goalkeepers on their books in Itumeleng Khune and Bruce Bvuma. The exact fitness status of Chiefs’ captain is not clear, but on the 12th of October, Ernst Middendorp stated his goalkeeper is “sidelined for the month”. By the time of the semi-final, six weeks would have passed.

Therefore, Khune may have an outside shot of being fit to start. Otherwise, Bruce Bvuma – who played throughout Chiefs’ run to the Nedbank Cup final last season –would start the game, with either Khune on the bench or the recently re-signed Brylon Petersen in reserve. 

Who Takes Katsande’s Spot?

Chiefs’ defensive midfielder has only played 47% of the available minutes in league and cup this season and his recent run of starts is largely down to an injury to Kearyn Baccus. Before that, George Maluleka was playing in the holding role and should Baccus be fit to return for this game, then Middendorp would likely revert to his preferred midfield from the start of the season.

If Baccus is out, then Njabulo Blom is a possible defensive midfield option or Reeve Frosler could play in midfield as he did against Mamelodi Sundowns recently. Philani Zulu could also be an alternative in midfield, whilst Siphelele Ntshangase and James Kotei would be surprise selections have not made a single matchday squad all season, even when Chiefs have been struck by injuries or have heavily rotated their side.

Who would you start to replace Akpeyi, Mathoho and Katsande? Let us know by commenting below!

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