Kaizer Chiefs have announced that they have parted ways with coach Ernst Middendorp following a string of poor performances after the COVID-19 lockdown.
In a statement on Wednesday (9 September), Amakhosi Chairman Kaizer Motaung said the decision takes effect immediately.
‘Win trophies again’
Motaung said, “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.
“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 registered good performances in the first half of the season before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a suspension of all sporting events in South Africa in March.
However, resumption of football once the lockdown was eased revealed a vastly different Kaizer Chiefs, leading to the popular club relinquishing its premier soccer league (PSL) lead and eventually losing out on the title to Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend.
Motaung explained, “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.”
New coach to be announced
Motaung wished Middendorp well in his future endeavours and said the team has been given some time off. The club will announce a new coach before the pre-season period starts.
Middendorp joined Amakhosi in December 2018 and led the club to that season’s ninth place in his first six months in charge.
This was his second stint at the club. In 2006, he led it to the 2006 ABSA Cup, which later became the Telkom Knockout and the 2006 SAA Supa8.
Middendorp was also the coach when Kaizer Chiefs pipped Manchester United in the final of the 2006 Vodacom Challenge.
The Ernst Middendorp news has sparked a lively debate among Kaizer Chiefs fans over who will be the next coach, with some suggesting former Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt.