Kaizer Chiefs defender Cardoso concerned by Mathoho, Akpeyi and Katsande suspensions


Kaizer Chiefs defender Daniel Cardoso has described as a "big blow" the unavailability of three key players Erick Mathoho, goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi and Willard Katsande from Saturday's Telkom Knockout semi-final showdown with Maritzburg United at Mbombela Stadium.

The three players will not take part in the match as they are serving suspensions.

Mathoho was red-carded in Chiefs' last match against Soweto old foes Orlando Pirates, while the ill-tempered encounter also saw Akpeyi and Katsande each accumulating a fourth yellow card to rule them out of Sunday's fixture.

Most hit with this suspension is the Chiefs central defence which has limited options as replacements and Bruce Bvuma will step in to command the backline in place of Akpeyi.

With Siyabonga Ngezana away at the Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations with South Africa, Lorenzo Gordinho is likely to partner Cardoso in the heart of defence.

“Ja‚ look it’s a big blow that we’re losing three players," Cardoso said as per Sowetan Live.

"They’ve been very important for us. And again‚ it’s down the spine of the team. But like I’ve said before – we’ve got players to fill their shoes.

“We’ve got Kearyn Baccus who’s back now and fit and available to play [for Katsande in midfield]. You’ve got George Maluleka – he’s been in and out‚ but he’s always fit to play.

“And partnering for centre-back is a bit of a tricky one. There is Yagan Sasman – he’s played centre-back‚ he’s a left-sided fullback.

“You’ve got Lorenzo Gordinho who is still there. I’m sure he’s itching to play. And if he gets his chance he’ll give it his all.

“So it’s a big blow for us. But we’ve done it before. We played Chippa United two weeks ago and made eight changes‚ and the team put in a solid performance [winning 2-0 in Port Elizabeth].

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“I mean‚ you’re giving players a chance who haven’t played in a while‚ and they’re hungry to play.

“And anyone who comes in will step up to the plate. And it’s a semi-final – we want to get though to the final and win our first silverware this season.”

Chiefs are hunting for their first major trophy in four years.