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Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns

Fabian McCarthy: Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Virgil Vries deserves to start against Mamelodi Sundowns

9:19 PM IST 04/01/19
Fabian McCarthy of Sundowns
The former Bafana Bafana defender finds it difficult to predict the outcome of the match between Amakhosi and Masandawana

Former Kaizer Chiefs defender Fabian McCarthy reckons the highly anticipated Premier Soccer League (PSL) encounter between Amakhosi and Mamelodi Sundowns is not easy to predict.

“I think it will be a tough one. It becomes difficult to say Ernst (Middendorp) will lose or win against Sundowns because both sides are coming from the break,” McCarthy told Goal.

The encounter will take place at the iconic FNB Stadium in the city of Johannesburg on Saturday and Chiefs are heading into this game having won their last three games in all competitions.

“It will affect both sides. It is unfortunate for Chiefs because they were gaining momentum before the Christmas break,” he added.

“I am sure the coach (Middendorp) has planned well and I wish to see goals because it was a 1-1 draw in the first round at Loftus Versfeld,” said the legend.

“It would be a good start for the coach (Middendorp) if he wins as they begin the second round in a new year,” responded the former defender.

“Obviously, his main aim is to settle down quickly and he is showing good signs with his team. I also think a draw will be good for both teams,” he said.

Both sides have a congested fixture schedule in January considering the fact that they are both involved in the Caf Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup competitions.

“Coming back to the fixtures this month, I don’t really think Chiefs need to beef up their squad in order to manage the load, but the coach must have a good programme for his players,” he continued.

“I know he will not want a big squad, maybe a team of 26-28 players and look to rotate his players based on the games ahead of them,” said the former Bloemfontein Celtic defender.

Chiefs could be without their captain Itumeleng Khune, who is nursing a shoulder injury and Virgil Vries is expected to start in goal.

“I don’t think Khune's absence will have a negative impact on the game because there is Vries, who has shown his worth when the skipper was injured,” said the North West-born veteran.

“It happens in football that a player fails to pass a late fitness test and Vries has come in well. If Khune is not available, I think Vries will come in and do the job,” he added.

“I believe he has done well so far as a goalkeeper and the coach must just motivate him to play his normal game and not concede to boost his confidence,” concluded the legend.