Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp expects Royal Eagles to raise their game when his Absa Premiership table-toppers take on the team currently rock-bottom of the GladAfrica Championship in the Nedbank Cup last 32 at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
READ: Kaizer Chiefs blot out 2019 Cup final flop
“You see teams playing in the NFD and then against PSL (Premiership) teams and their performance is on a different level. Or you see an NFD team in a cup competition and then you see them in the NFD and you ask “who are these guys?” said Middendorp this week.
“According to the occasion, in a game you have certain teams always capable of doing something special.”
The Chiefs coach knows all too well about this, of course, with his Chiefs team losing 1-0 in last season’s Nedbank Cup final to Championship side TS Galaxy. Middendorp has been reluctant to discuss the Galaxy debacle this week, insisting he has not even talked about it with his squad ahead of this match.
He does, however, clearly have admiration for the threat Eagles can pose, noting their narrow defeat to Championship leaders Ajax Cape Town on 26 January.
“There are a number of PSL (Premiership) players that they have brought in, like Katlego Mashego, and Mpho Maruping, who was with Bloemfontein Celtic. Some of them were with Free State Stars…I saw what they did against Ajax and they probably should have picked up at least a point,” said the Chiefs head coach.
“It is not any different in terms of preparing for a team in the PSL, we are not taking it easy just because we are meeting a team fighting for survival in the NFD, we have been very busy looking into Royal Eagles’ last three games,” he added.
Middendorp has turned things around remarkably in the league, with his team currently well clear at the top but he isn’t expected to deviate from the core of the team.
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