Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp remains hopeful that the contractual dispute between attacking midfielder Pule Ekstein and the club will be resolved swiftly so that the player can be considered for selection in the remaining matches of the season.
Contract extension negotiations appear to have reached a deadlock and Ekstein missed the club’s last two matches.
The player did not feature in the recent league match against Black Leopards and he also did not make an appearance in the Nedbank Cup semi-final against Chippa United in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Middendorp urged the club to resolve whatever obstacles that may have led to one of his favourite players being relegated to the sidelines.
Asked to confirm Ekstein’s whereabouts after Chiefs beat Chippa 4-2 on Saturday to set up a cup final against lower tier side TS Galaxy on May 18 in Durban‚ Middendorp said: “I haven’t seen him today too.”
Ekstein’s form has improved immensely since Middendorp’s return to Chiefs in December and the midfielder underlined it with a superb performance in the club’s 2-0 win against Cape Town City in the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup‚ capping the display the display with a goal.
Given Middendorp’s response‚ it’s not clear if the 28-year-old midfielder will make an appearance against Golden Arrows at the FNB Stadium in a league match on Tuesday night.
Ekstein was reported to have rejected a new two-year contract offered by Chiefs as he felt it came short of his expectations. The player has been encouraged by his teammates‚ including veteran striker Bernard Parker‚ to renew his contract with Amakhosi