Kaizer Chiefs has confirmed firing coach Ernst Middendorp after denying that the coach has been shown the door earlier today.
In a short statement released as breaking news on the club’s Twitter account Chiefs said: “After reviews conducted by Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung and the club’s management, Amakhosi have decided to part ways with coach Ernst Middendorp with immediate effect”.
In another statement on the club’s official website, Chiefs 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.
“After giving the coach and the technical team the ammunition required to compete in the new season,” Motaung adds, “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.”
Motaung thanked Middendorp for his efforts and work: “We wish him all the best for the future.”
“We will announce the new coach before the team returns for pre-season training,” Motaung concluded.
However earlier today Chiefs communications manager Vina Maphosa denied any knowledge of the axing of of coach when approached for comment.
“I don’t know anything about what you’re asking me. I’m in the office as we speak. Sorry, I cannot help you my brother,” he said tacitly.
As early as mid-season in December Chiefs led the log standings with 13 points ahead of eventual champions Sundowns, until the race for the title went down to the wire with both sides needing to win their last encounters as they were level on 56 points but Chiefs topped the log with a three strikes superior goal difference.
The German tactician joined Amakhosi in December 2018, four months into the 2018/19 season, after the club announced the firing of Italian coach Giovanni Solinas, who had also coached Free State Stars before.
Returning to Chiefs for his second stint, Middendorp, the former Arminia Bielefeld football manager in Germany has coached the Glamour Boys from 2005 to 2007, having worked as the technical director for Bangkok United in Thailand since 2017.
In South Africa, Middendorp has also coached Maritzburg United, Lamontville Golden Arrows, Chippa United and Bloefontein Celtic in the PSL and in the Bundesliga he carried the fame of being voted Bielefeld’s coach of the century.
Chiefs defender Daniel Cardoso took to his Instagram account pouring his heart out about the heartbreaking of losing the league championship they had within their grasp following their tame 1-1 draw against Baroka in the last Premiership match of the season on Saturday.
“Don’t think I’ve felt this pain in my life ever, such disappointment and a bitter pill to swallow! Setbacks often lead to greater comebacks, I will pick myself back up and work harder for the next season to come!!!” he reflected on his social media post.
Chiefs have come under heavy criticism from their fans and foes alike since they let the title slip, and it has been a difficult time for players, the coaching staff and management as the club has not won a title in the last five seasons.
Amakhosi enjoyed a relatively good season though, with both coach and players dominating the monthly PSL individual awards but failed in the last hurdle to meet the expectations of their hordes of fans hungry for silverware.