Chiefs have undergone a radical shake-up since Middendorp’s arrival midway through the season, with team performances vastly improving and fringe players stepping up to the fore.
On the other hand, some of the club’s star players have also found themselves in unfamiliar territory of having to make way for some of their previously less-favoured teammates.
Midfield enforcer Willard Katsande was surprisingly for the first time since his arrival at the club placed on the bench for the most recent Soweto Derby, and has been limited to just three starts since the end of January.
Over the weekend, Leonardo Castro made a mere cameo appearance in the 2-0 victory over Cape Town City in their Nedbank Cup semi-final, proving that Middendorp has no fear or favour in his selections.
“It’s another strange idea of coaching I have. Don’t work with heroes; don’t work with ownerships in the team; don’t work with history – work with each and every player and how you see them,” explained Middendorp.
“Please don’t make a difference between a foreigner and a local. If a local is better, the local should play. If the younger player is better, the younger player should play, in the moment.
“There’s always a situation preparing for the next game, we are in the middle of the season and it doesn’t matter which competition we are in, and that’s what we are doing.
“If a player feels comfortable and the team feels comfortable about it then from our side, the technical team has done a lot of stuff right.”