One notable omission from Chiefs’ starting line-up in Saturday’s Soweto Derby stalemate with Orlando Pirates was Zimbabwean midfield enforcer Willard Katsande.
The 32-year-old was later brought on as a substitute, which has since drawn criticism of the German tactician, though he has explained why he left the veteran out in the first place.
“I don’t understand this issue. We left Khama Billiat on the bench against AmaZulu. We left Katsande on the bench [against Pirates]. I don’t know, maybe next is Leonardo [Castro],” explained Middendorp.
“I want to make sure this is regular and it’s normal. Where is it written? I don’t think there’s a contract written that says a player has a guarantee to start – I don’t think so.
“I think you saw in the first half, there were three tactical moments where it looked like we had done something right without Katsande. We got something right against AmaZulu, without Billiat.
“Let’s really understand this, there’s no guarantee for anybody [to start]. It’s about performance and really going into [each match].
“I’ve said it before, all players are equal, but some are more equal. And in the moment, who is more equal is a decision of the technical team during the week in preparation for the match.”