Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp refused to be drawn into criticising one of his midfielders after he was substituted at half-time in their Nedbank Cup elimination by Highlands Park on Saturday.
Anthony Akumu finally made his full Amakhosi debut, handed a starting berth by Middendorp, but was yanked out after 45 minutes while the score was goalless.
Chiefs went on to suffer a penalty shootout defeat having held Highlands to a 1-1 draw during open play, but have now been knocked out of the cup.
“It’s very difficult for him and all of us. He comes in and there’s no pre-season,” Middendorp said of Akumu, a January signing.
“I had to give him time, but it’s difficult. It’s not for assessing in the moment. I think he is not quite there with his teammates yet and we had wanted to see. But like I said, there is nothing to assess – it’s definitely not fair.”
Chiefs next face arch-rivals Orlando Pirates in the Soweto derby on Saturday in an Absa Premiership clash that could go a long way in deciding their title hopes, and Akumu will be desperate to make an appearance in this big fixture.