Middendorp: Players must step up

The Team of Choice are sitting down at the bottom of the Absa Premiership log with only one victory, having scored just nine and conceding a massive 24 goals, in 12 fixtures thus far.

After returning to the Pietermaritzburg-based club for a third stint, Middendorp believes some of the senior players have been shadows of themselves in their performances this season, and says they now need to switch on if they are to escape the relegation-zone.

“We all know that Virgil Vries is able to perform on a different level, and we have to push him in that direction,” said Middendorp.

“We know that players like Evans Rusike, Mohammed Anas have to perform, and Tawfeeq Salie will definitely be the option [in the next game against Supersport United]. 

“I saw players were not used, such as Abia Nale, who I know is definitely someone who can contribute in the forward movement to give the final assist. 

“I know there’s a lot of quality in terms of set-pieces. You must have good guys in terms of assisting and if you saw in the last game [the 1-1 draw against Platinum Stars], there are lot of possibilities into a positive direction.”

With the PSL officially declaring the domestoc transfer window open on Monday, 4 January, the 57-year old former Bloemfontein Celtic tactician says the club would love to bring in new players but highlights issues that often arise when identifying his desired targets.

With Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, Ajax Cape Town and Bidvest Wits all competing in CAF competitions this year, Middendorp says acquiring quality players from such teams become almost impossible.

“You don’t get the players [that you want]; you don’t get the quality that you really identify. There is no team [willing] to release their qualified players. 

“Most of them tell you they are playing in Africa, in different competitions, and they are not releasing this one or that one despite not using them over the past six months – that is the problem,” he concluded.

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