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'I saw Castro's potential quickly during Kaizer Chiefs' pre-season training' - Middendorp

13:47 GMT+3 10/01/2020
Leonardo Castro Kaizer Chiefs January 8
The lanky striker was close to being offloaded by Amakhosi but the coach recalls how the club had to make a decision on his future

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp is impressed with how Leonardo Castro worked hard and fought his way back into the team. 

The German mentor admitted Castro nearly left the club at the end of last season after he didn't really unleash his full potential in the final six months of the 2018/19 campaign. 

However, he recalled how the striker's change in attitude twisted his arm in believing he can offer something different to Amakhosi this season, especially with Samir Nurkovic as his partner upfront. 

The 30-year-old scored twice as the Glamour Boys beat Highlands Park 3-0 on Wednesday, and took his tally to six goals in the league.  

"Let's be honest – he was actually very introverted and not really inside the team and then he started showing up in a different way and we started to unlock the attitude and unlock a certain direction with all this experience we had in the final six months of the 2018-19 season," Middendorp told the media. 

"And yes, I saw it quite quickly during the pre-season‚ where I thought‚ 'wow‚ this is something that could work' particular with Samir to have two players upfront who are really putting a stamp in a different direction‚ and not really well-known in South Africa‚ with a certain power and physical presence."

Middendorp added the club had to make a quick decision on Castro and everyone was happy when it was decided that he would stay, more so because he still had a contract with Chiefs. 

And he's happy Castro is enjoying his football again at Chiefs.  

"We made a decision quite quickly. Everybody was happy. He [Castro] wanted to stay. With a very clear understanding – the contract was there and we moved on. I think he's one player with something outstanding and I'm very happy for him that he’s so successful," added Middendorp.