Why Chiefs axed Middendorp
Kaizer Chiefs finally showed their polarising coach Ernst Middendorp the door on Wednesday afternoon after days of incredible pressure from upset fans.
The decision to sack the German came just days after Chiefs meekly surrendered the league title to rivals Mamelodi Sundowns after leading the standings for almost a year.
Club chair Kaizer Motaung and his management team conducted a review of the combustible mentor’s tumultuous regime this week and elected to show him the door with immediate effect.
“We deliberated and considered many aspects related to the team, including our way of playing, our performances and the results before coming to the decision,” Motaung said.
“We truly believed and hoped that our 50th anniversary year would be better, and it indeed looked promising.
“The decision taken is part of a strategy to have the team win trophies again and to make our supporters happy because they deserve better.”
Chiefs have not won a trophy since Stuart Baxter’s departure after the 2014/2015 season‚ having brought the club their second league and cup double in three years.
Middendorp joined Chiefs in December 2018 and led the side to ninth position on the Absa Premiership table a few months later.
Chiefs also secured a place in the final of the Nedbank Cup but even this feat ended in embarrassment for Motaung.
Chiefs were beaten 1-0 by lowly TS Galaxy in the final in Durban and Motaung admitted that his club’s defeat ranked as the lowest point of his career as chair of the ailing team.
“I am still traumatised even now and I am still trying to recover‚” he said at the time.
Motaung said yesterday the club had done enough to assist Middendorp during his time at the helm but in the end, he did not deliver.
“After giving the coach and the technical team the ammunition required to compete in the new season, there were some improvements, and this was evident during the first seven months of this 2019/2020 season.
“However, when the league restarted post-lockdown, things changed, and we looked a totally different side in our last eight league matches.
“We witnessed some heart-stopping performances and we were overtaken on the log in the last game of the season, which truly broke our hearts.
“We have to take responsibility — we can’t wait and allow this situation to continue.”
The future of Middendorp’s assistant, Shaun Bartlett, will be decided at a later stage.
Motaung thanked Middendorp and wished him all the best./
“We pride ourselves on having built a strong legacy and a culture based on winning,” he said.
“We are aware that the supporters are hurting, and the outcry is too loud to ignore.
“It is important for our loyal supporters to know that we feel their pain.
“While we are wounded, we need to remember that the key principle of loyalty is showing unity and standing together in solidarity when the going gets tough.”
The squad has been given time off and will return before the end of September to start preparing for the coming campaign.
“We will announce the new coach before the team returns for preseason training,” Motaung said.
Meanwhile, outspoken Mamelodi Sundowns mentor Pitso Mosimane has urged the country’s soccer bosses to have more faith in SA coaches.
At the weekend, Mosimane led Sundowns to their fifth Premiership title since he took over as coach in December 2012‚ making him the most successful coach in SA football.
Overall, the club have won the league on 10 occasions.
Mosimane told a media briefing on Wednesday that home-grown coaches were not respected in SA.
“There is a perception in my country‚ and it is not only about football but everything‚ that a black man cannot do this‚” he said.
“I am not playing the race card here because I don’t need to do that‚ but you know I always say ‘local is lekker’.
“We need to believe in our own people.
“It doesn’t mean that when somebody comes with a European passport [they are] better than what we have in the country.”
Since he joined the Brazilians during the 2012/2013 season‚ Mosimane has achieved unparalleled trophy success at Chloorkop that includes the Caf Champions League and the Super Cup.
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