Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp led his team to a 3-1 win in a Premiership match on Saturday in Thohoyandou. So it might seem strange that some of us should be calling for his head now.
But he must not get a reprieve for winning against a weak, second-rate team. People must not forget his numerous draws and losses simply because of this paltry win so late in the season.
Middendorp must be fired.
The man has for the past two years turned the Phefeni glamour boys into a bunch of timid, backward-looking defenders who look as if they are walking on eggs on the field. This is not the Chiefs that many supporters and fans signed up for.
What we have today is a team that enters the field expecting a loss and begging for a draw. Nothing in the past two years has indicated that Chiefs have a coach who inspires hunger in his team. Instead, we have one draw after another.
This would be fine if Amakhosi were some mid-level team just happy to be hanging on in the Premiership. But this is not some mid-level team. This is the Chiefs of history, of glory, of dreams. This is the Chiefs that dared to dream that it is possible to unseat giants Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows from the top of the South African soccer pile.
It is the team of winners.
Alas, not under Middendorp. Look at the Premiership log and weep. The team has drawn consistently or lost to small, struggling teams. Chiefs' bench these days celebrates a draw as a win.
How far we have come. There was a time - when Chiefs reached its heights between the 1970s and the 1990s - when even some wins were considered not good enough at Chiefs. Now we celebrate draws and congratulate our players for defending.
The record shows that Chiefs was at its best when it played attacking football. The likes of the late Ace Ntsoelengoe and Teenage Dladla took the game to opponents. Playing against Chiefs used to put the fear of God in the hearts of defenders and goalkeepers.
Today Chiefs are more likely to enter the field with a pack of players whose trademark is tight marking and no other skill. The culture at Chiefs now is that we must score one goal and defend for the rest of the game. Nothing else matters. That is why the best player at Chiefs right now is the goalkeeper. It is because the man is under so much pressure. We are playing at the back, not the front.
This is why Shaun Bartlett has complained so bitterly that he does not get service up front. We are playing football, but we are playing it at the back. Defenders across the country must be happy to play against Chiefs. They now just have to fold their hands and watch Chiefs defend.
It is a wonder that Chiefs' management has stuck with this man for so long. I understand that people must be given chances. But this is way too generous.
Middendorp's greatest failure is that he has brought with him a culture that is alien to the team - the culture of accepting mediocrity. He has brought the idea to Chiefs that it is fine to be mid-level, to be so-so.
That is not Chiefs' culture. At Chiefs the culture is one of winning. To strive for more and better everyday is the culture.
Middendorp has killed all that.