Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp was pleased to see midfielder Joseph Molangoane return to the pitch after eight months on the side-line.
Molangoane made a long-awaited return from a broken leg suffered back in Chiefs’ opening fixture of the season against Free State Stars in the MTN8 quarterfinal, when he came off the bench in their 1-1 stalemate with Golden Arrows on Tuesday evening.
The 31-year-old has steadily worked his way back to contention as he was named on the matchday squad, before Middendorp introduced him for his maiden Absa Premiership appearance this season – some 255 days since he last featured for Amakhosi.
The coach expressed delight in the diminutive winger’s return as a reward for his fight back, explaining what he had hoped to achieve by bringing ‘Tight’ on for Siphosakhe Nitiya-Ntiya.
“Compliments to Joseph, I was very happy to see him and take him in [to the field of play]. He’s worked really hard over the last few months,” said Middendorp.
“I know he’s not 100 percent, but you always think, maybe with one cross or one one-against-one with his experience he can put something into place.
“But, okay, that’s how it is. The 15-20 minutes here will build him up to come back to competitive performance and that’s good, we’ll work it out.”
The German also revealed that the omission of Zimbabwean talisman Khama Billiat had nothing to do with him having escaped unharmed from a car accident on Monday but also seemed to have held back his true feelings thereon.
“Immediately after the game in Port Elizabeth, he was already indicating that there are some heavy hamstring issues,” he explained.
“That was the decision, that he was not available for this game… Ja, let’s leave it like this.”