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05 Jan 2009 10:47
Kaizer Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral boosted his strike force during the festive season Premier Soccer League break when he signed talented striker Abia Nale from Golden Arrows.
The Turkish-born coach, however, said he had not decided whether he would blood his new star when Amakhosi host Mamelodi Sundowns at the Johannesburg Stadium on Sunday when the Absa Premiership season resumes. Kick-off is at 3.30pm.
Nale is versatile and has been playing in an attacking role for Arrows, but Ertugral rates him more as an out-and-out striker.
Said Ertugral on Monday: “Nale is a top player and a superb signing for us.
I realise he was playing in an offensive midfield role for Arrows, but he caught my attention when he played as a striker for Arrows a year back.
Whether Nale will be thrown into the deep end against troubled Downs is something Ertugral will consider this week. Said the Chiefs coach: “I will have a look at Nale during training this week. So far I am pleased. The good thing is that I have virtually an injury-free squad to choose from. Apart from the long-term injury casualties such as Dominic Isaacs, most of the other players have reported fit in the New Year and that gives me great hope for the second part of the season.”
The good news is that striker Kaizer Motaung Junior, who has missed the entire Premiership season so far, has recovered from a long-term injury and is back in full training.
Nale comes at the right time for Ertugral. Owing to injuries to Motaung and his other striker Tshepo Bulu, Ertugral was forced to play his Venezuelan forward, Jose Torrealba, as a lone attacker for many of the 14 league matches Chiefs have played this season.
Said Ertugral: “Nale will make a huge difference and with Kaizer Junior back from injury things are starting to look up. When we started the season I was crippled with injuries, especially in attack, that continued until the break. Hopefully we can have an injury-free run and start building up points and climbing up the table.”
Ertugral also came to the defence of Downs’ new French-born coach Henri Michel, who has been under fire after failing to get instant results when he replaced Trott Moloto in November. “I know Michel from working with him in Tunisia. He is a highly rated coach in Africa and Europe. I cannot understand why people have been on his back. He is a top-class coach. All he needs is time. Downs must be patient and in the middle term he will take Sundowns to success.”
Ertugral said he had no doubt Michel, who coached the French, Tunisian, Moroccan and Ivory national teams, would prove to be an asset to South African soccer. “Michel has tons of experience. South Africa is fortunate to have such a quality coach working here. I simply cannot understand why he is being criticised after he has been here such a short time. He is top class and will get Downs back to their winning ways. That is also why I am preparing for a difficult match, but one that we badly need to win.”
Ertugral admitted while he is happy to boost his attack with Nale, he needs to get his defence better organised. Leading 2-0 in their last match and coasting to a win before the break against Platinum Stars in Rustenburg, Amakhosi conceded two late goals and had to settle for a 2-2 draw. - Sapa
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