Mahlasela has had a frustrating 12 months since his move to Chiefs from Bloemfontein Celtic midway through last season, after he suffered a long-term injury immediately upon his arrival and having seen minimal game-time this season.
The 27-year-old made his Amakhosi debut in their second outing of the season back in August, coming on as a second-half substitute in their 3-1 league defeat to Bidvest Wits.
Since then, he has managed just three starts – all of which came under previous mentor Giovanni Solinas – but is confident Middendorp is warming up to what he can offer the team.
“It concerns every player [when they’re not playing regularly] – every player wants to play; every player wants to start games, but at the end of the day it’s up to the coaches and management [to decide who plays],” said Mahlasela.
“The only thing I can do is keep on working hard and stay focused. I believe my chances have become better [under Middendorp], because he introduces me in games [as a substitute] and understands how I like to play.”
The diminutive attacker also shed some light as to his irregular inclusions in the matchday squad under Solinas, under whom he failed to string together consecutive appearances.
“I wouldn’t say he was ignoring us, but he was working only with those who were playing regularly. Everyone was ready and fighting for their position, but the coach had his own intentions and he did whatever he did,” he commented.