Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp believes Hendrick Ekstein has the quality and experience needed to carry the team under his guidance.
The 28-year-old made a crucial error that led to Thembinkosi Lorch’s equaliser in the Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates in the Absa Premiership on Saturday.
The Soweto derby ended in a 1-1 draw at the FNB Stadium that saw Amakhosi drop down to seventh place in the league with 28 points after 20 games, while the Buccaneers remain third on the table with 33 points, having played one game less than Chiefs.
However, Middendorp leaped to the midfielder’s defence following his costly mistake in the Soweto derby.
‘Hendrick is an outstanding player. He’s not a youngster anymore. He’s 28, if I’m not mistaken, and this is definitely somebody who can carry a team with his ideas and the stuff he’s regularly doing,’ Middendorp told his club’s official website.
‘But it [mistakes] happens, unfortunately. What could we do? We could have corrected it, and that’s part of the team’s work. We could have closed the space and be a bit more alert and nothing would have happened.
‘It’s unfortunate that it happened, but for me, he’s an outstanding player and one of the best I’ve ever worked with.’
The Bekkersdal-born midfielder has already scored twice and assisted a further one from 17 appearances in all competitions so far this season.
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