Daniel Cardoso of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates with teammates amir Nurkovic and Bernard Parker. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/FRENNIE SHIVAMBU
Daniel Cardoso of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates with teammates amir Nurkovic and Bernard Parker. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/FRENNIE SHIVAMBU

Daniel Cardoso admits centre-back might be a tricky position to fill for Kaizer Chiefs in the absence of his suspended central partner Eric Mathoho in Amakhosi’s Telkom Knockout semifinal against Maritzburg United on Sunday.

Chiefs‚ desperate for silverware after four seasons without a trophy‚ have three top players suspended for the tie at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

Mathoho has been a key figure in Chiefs’s early season excellent form that sees them top of the Premiership.

The Bafana Bafana centre-back was red-carded at the end of Amakhosi’s 3-2 league win against Orlando Pirates in their last match.

Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi and defensive midfielder Willard Katsande picked up their fourth yellow cards against Bucs and are two more big suspension absences for Chiefs against Maritzburg.

Cardoso said Chiefs have shown this season they have depth‚ so should be able to absorb the absences.

“It’s a big blow that we’re losing three players. They’ve been very important for us. And again‚ it’s down the spine of the team‚” Cardoso said.  “But like I’ve said, 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.

“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].

“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. It’s a semifinal, we want to get through to the final and win our first silverware this season.”

It is not clear yet whether Chiefs will recall centre-back Siyabonga Ngezana from the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt‚ where SA need to beat Ghana in Friday night’s third-place playoff to reach the 2020 Olympics.