The Amakhosi boss could not lead his troops to a win as they looked to overcome a 3-1 deficit to reach the group stages, but were condemned to a 2-1 (5-2 on aggregate) loss at the FNB Stadium.
“First of all compliments to Zesco. I think both games (they were good) six points. It was very clear. They deserve to qualify. We were not able to get the freshness in. We had our first game on the 5th of January," Middendorp told SuperSport TV.
“Now today is the 20th is 15 days and that means it's five games in 15 days. I don’t have to explain it and if you want to compete with the champions of other countries (we’ve to prepare better),” he said.
“In the first game away we had to do a very intensive game against Bidvest (Wits). We won it. We went all out. Now here we are again we have to play another intensive game in Durban against AmaZulu, we won it,” continued the German boss.
“But I have seen the players in both games first game away and today’s game three days later after another intensive game we haven’t been able to get the freshness in,” continued the coach.
“You need one or two days off, like the fantastic performance in the AmaZulu game. It was a fantastic performance against Bidvest Wits. It’s not that the players are not capable but just the result of these intensive games these players have to come up and play,” responded the manager.
On the other hand, the former Free State Stars coach said South African clubs will always find it difficult to do well in the continent due to a congested fixture schedule.
“We have to think about this in South Africa that if we really want to qualify our teams for the international business,” rued the coach.
“You have to give your team a break to prepare and to be fresh to go into this competition, but not in this way we have just experienced just now,” he concluded.
Chiefs will now turn their focus to their upcoming encounter in the Nedbank Cup against Tornado FC next on Sunday next week.