Madagascar international Aro Andrianarimanana is finally finding his feet and producing the form that convinced Kaizer Chiefs to sign him when he represented his country in the 2018 Cosafa Cup in Polokwane.
Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp was not at the club when the midfielder was signed but since rejoining Amakhosi in December‚ the German-born coach has been steadily giving the player‚ better known as Dax‚ chances to prove his worth.
Middendorp has been pleased with Andrianarimanana’s contribution in the last few matches after he scored two goals‚ including a vital equaliser against Chippa United in the semifinal of the Nedbank Cup last Saturday.
Chiefs eventually won 4-2 and will be favourites to end their four-year trophy drought when they face NFD side TS Galaxy in the final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on May 18.
So far‚ Andrianarimanana has played 10 matches since he joined Chiefs in July‚ scoring one league goal in his first full start against Black Leopards two weeks ago.
“Dax is something special‚” Middendorp said of the midfielder who celebrated his 28th birthday on Sunday.
“He gives us another dimension in the midfield play in terms of contributing with clever passing. He’s good in keeping the ball‚ being available for a pass with good spacing.”
Middendorp said a few factors had led to his decision to bide his time before giving Andrianarimanana an opportunity in the starting XI.
“I could have brought him a little bit earlier [into the team]‚ but the language is still a little bit of a question mark‚” he said.
“But he understands because we do a lot of video analysis to give him the visual aspect‚ the movement in terms of what we want. At the moment he’s doing very fine but there’s more to come from him.”
Andrianarimanana started his third match in succession when Chiefs drew 1-1 with Golden Arrows in a league match on Tuesday.
He was withdrawn for George Maluleke in the 75th minute and that substitution seemed to have been an inspired one as Maluleke delivered a corner kick that was headed in by defender Kgotso Moleko.
The result on Tuesday left Amakhosi needing more from the likes of Andrianarimanana to ensure they finish inside the top eight.