Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has rued the decision to field goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune but says he feared being chased out of the stadium.
Khune pulled out injured in the first half of his side’s 1-0 victory over Baroka on Saturday evening, forcing Daniel Akpeyi off the bench to put on a man of the match display as he kept Chiefs in the game with numerous crucial saves.
Akpeyi has endured his fair share of criticism since arriving at Naturena in January, and Middendorp was quick to jump to the Nigerian’s defence after the match.
“I’ve said it already. If there is still somebody doubting the quality of Daniel Akpeyi then I must say I can’t help, I absolutely can’t help,” said Middendorp.
“It’s coming out of one minute to another and taking a position in such a way, it just shows quality; it shows maturity; it’s shows grown up attitude in away
“And if somebody deserves it [support] over the last nine or 10 months then it’s Daniel Akpeyi.”
The German further expressed his frustration at having fielded Khune in the first place, after he only recently returned from a lengthy injury lay-off, but said he feared being attacked for dropping the crowd-favourite shotstopper.
“I really could hit myself. I’m aware about it, he was not [ready]… Guys, but if I do what I had in my head, I think they will chase me out of the stadium before we start the game,” he added.
“Fact is, a player like Itu Khune hasn’t played in eight months and Tuesday was a very intense game against AmaZulu for him too
“Three and a half days later… Ja, he was on the field, but he should not have been on the field. If you go under normal circumstances, you start today with Daniel and Khune is on Tuesday one week into it.
“This was too much, simple-easy, that is what we have to see in the professional side. I was aware about it, I made it very clear myself, but I didn’t want to get chased out of the stadium.”