Ex-Kaizer Chiefs defender Kannemeyer: Why Nurkovic’s absence doesn’t matter against Mamelodi Sundowns

The former Masandawana and Amakhosi defender talks about the potential title decider on Thursday

Former Kaizer Chiefs defender David Kannemeyer finds it difficult to make a call on who will win the Premier Soccer League (PSL) clash against Mamelodi Sundowns.

The retired left-back is tempted to believe Samir Nurkovic’s absence will not be a train smash for Amakhosi whilst saying it’s also difficult to say coach Pitso Mosimane’s troops have turned the corner following the win over Golden Arrows.

Amakhosi are leading the log table with 53 points and the reigning PSL champions have 50 points, the clash on Thursday is seen as crucial to settling the title.

“It’s in their [Chiefs] hands, and it depends on how much they want to win the league. It’s entirely up to Chiefs now if they want to throw it away or complete the job,” Kannemeyer told Goal.

“There’s nothing the coach and the supporters can do, it’s up to them. It’s very difficult to say Sundowns have turned the corner because everybody is looking for points now.

“So, I can’t say Sundowns have turned the corner but the players look very tired and we have to see them against Chiefs on how they turn up.”

On the absence of the Serbian hitman who is suspended and the possibility of not having Leonardo Castro for the clash at Dobsonville Stadium, the Cape Town-based legend says any player is good enough for Amakhosi.

“Look, to me the fact that Nurkovic or a certain player will not be available doesn’t matter at this stage because every player has to work hard to meet the demands of the game,” he added.

“Every player has a role to play and ensure they win the game. One player doesn’t make a team. So, whoever is thrown into the pack has to do the job at the end of the day.

“I don’t know if Zwane can be able to lead Sundowns, a team is all about a group of players and Zwane was instrumental for their win over Arrows and that’s how teams win championships. Coming from the bench and scoring a winning goal tells a lot about his character and importance at Sundowns.

“If you can have such players, it’s good, and that is what he did on Monday. I honestly can’t say who will win this one. It’s very difficult to call it but it depends on who wants it the most.”

On putting himself on Middendorp and Mosimane’s shoes, the former Bafana Bafana defender says it’s not easy to cheer up the players at this juncture, saying they are tired but mental strength is key.

“As a coach, there’s nothing much you can tell your players in terms of motivating them because it’s all about the mentality,” continued the legend.

“It doesn’t matter how much the players are fatigued or how much they have tried. The plans and all the preparations will go out of the window when it comes to the game.

“The players still have to go out there and do the job because they are tired and we all know they are supposed to be resting but they find themselves working now.

“So, it’s all about the mentality. I think the team that has a strong mentality will go all the way and lift the trophy. I think the fact that the players are in the bubble makes it difficult to refresh or see their families – it’s very difficult.”

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