Playing field getting smaller for Doc
Playing field getting smaller for Doc

Posted in News on Aug 13, 2002.

It appears that playing days for Kaizer Chiefs midfield maestro Doctor Khumalo are over. If not, the supporters will only see the veteran during cameo appearances, as he would now focus on the technical side of the game.

Amakhosi coach Muhsin Ertugral revealed in a live chat on the club's official website that it would be difficult to accommodate Khumalo in the current setup. But Khumalo still has a crucial role to play in the team.

"There is a lack of football leaders in the country, and Doc is one of the promising leaders," Ertugral said. "I think together with Ace Khuse we have a good combination."

The once mighty “16V” started rounding off his playing career last season as he was used sparingly while restricted to the bench. He has also been tested twice as a coach during Ertugral’s absence when the team played a friendly match in Kimberly and at training while his superior was attending an international coaching convention in Germany.

"Ace understands me from Turkey and Doc understands the culture of our present squad. Technically he still has a lot to learn, but we will guide him. I don't think I will use him on the field. The pace is too fast for him,” said Ertugral

Addressing questions about the club’s failure to qualify for the BP Top Eight as defending champions, Ertugral sounded somewhat relieved for the non-participation. But the coach made his intentions clear for the new season – to win the league.

"Definitely to win the league is my biggest aim this season. The striking problems are sorted out. I promise a big gun next week which all of you will be happy about.”

About the rotational system introduced last season, Ertugral said it was necessary to follow that route due to a number of matches involved.

"Last season we played more than three times a week. But this season we only have the league and Coca-Cola Cup," he said. "This means we will stick to a certain combination. The team is big with 28 players, this means from time to time we have to rotate. The strategy is employed game by game and it also depends on our possibilities and the system of the opponents."

On the playing formation, Ertugral dismissed that as of little significance in a real match situation. “ I believe in changing the system during the game,” he said. “When you look back to all our games, you will always see an exciting blend of football with quick pace and aggressive attacking.

"After losing the ball we have to quickly convert to zonal system. We sometimes win the ball back very quickly but you might find our strikers ball watching, forgetting to position themselves. Currently we are playing 4-5-1 after losing the ball then 4-3-3 after winning the ball,” he said.

But the coach was criticised for his touchline antics during the game, which has been interpreted by some observers as intimidating to the players. “If you watch me on the bench very carefully, I am not upset with individual players,” he said.

"I’m upset with the referees, who make wrong decisions or don’t protect my players from aggressive fowls. Football is an emotional game, which my players understand me very well. Believe you me I have a wonderful relationship with my players. Which might not reflect to the supporters.”

Chiefs were scheduled to play Sundowns on August 25 at Loftus but the fixture might not take place as they have more than three players in the national team for the Cosafa Castle Cup semifinal against Swaziland.

The ongoing relegation saga between Hellenic and AmaZulu could also stall the start of the new season.

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