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Ernst Middendorp confirms Willard Katsande availability and shares Kaizer Chiefs intentions for CAF Confederation Cup first leg against Zesco United

Kaizer Chiefs are set to welcome midfield enforcer Willard Katsande back from injury for their CAF Confederation Cup clash with Zambian champions Zesco United this weekend.

Willard Katsande
Willard Katsande of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 05 January 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Coach Ernst Middendorp has given an indication of what their intentions will be in their play-off round first leg match-up in Zambia on Sunday and hinted at some rotation following their gruelling encounter against Absa Premiership leaders Bidvest Wits in midweek.

Katsande sat out the league encounter as George Maluleka took over the captaincy in his and veteran goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune’s absence, after picking up a hamstring strain in their previous match against Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend.

However, the 32-year-old hardman’s absence from the Bidvest Stadium was merely precautionary as Middendorp confirmed his availability for the trip to Ndola.

“Katsande is definitely in for Sunday – he’s 100 percent available for us, but if you come out [with a muscle injury] and you think everything is fine, [it’s a risk],” explained Middendorp.

“He wanted to play [against Wits] but it is our responsibility, along with the medical department, to keep him out and wait for Sunday.”

With two fixtures now between Amakhosi and maiden qualification to the continental group stages, Middendorp also emphasised the need to remain calm in this weekend’s away-leg, while some players may be rested after already featuring in two games within just four days.

“The approach is not to rush or to panic. It will be a hectic game too, no doubt about that, based on the information we have so far going to Zambia,” said the German.

“But, in the moment, it’s just to keep calm and do the right stuff. We need to recover in the right way, and we’ll probably start the game with two or three fresh players.

“Katsande, for example, will definitely be in, and ‘Dax’ [Andriamirado Andrianarimanana] can be an option. [Siphelele] Ntshangase is waiting, after he had a good game against Werder Bremen on Sunday. It’s good, these are the options so let’s see.” KickOff