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Ernst Middendorp welcomes German 'derby'

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp.
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

"Es ist wunderbar!" This German phrase, means "it's wonderful", and it sums up the reaction of Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp to the appointment of fellow German Jozef Zinnbauer as the new Orlando Pirates coach.

Last week Pirates announced the arrival of Zinnbauer, 49, on a three-year contract. It means the next Soweto derby will be a battle between two German tacticians.

Middendorp admits that there will be an interesting twist to the next derby in February.

"It's nice but we are global players as coaches, it doesn't matter if you are South African or German, Zambian or Zimbabwean," he said.

"We are coaches in the PSL who are global players. It will happen that coaches from SA will coach in other countries and leagues worldwide."

With most South Africans not having heard of Zinnbauer before, Middendorp also conceded that he doesn't know much about his counterpart.

"I know him by name. You must understand that he is 20 years younger, meaning he came into football when I had left German already.

"Give him a very clear chance and opportunity to manage the team adequately and that's it. I wish him all the best."

Zinnbauer can perhaps learn a thing or two from Middendorp who has coached in SA for 13 years.

The 61-year-old appears to be firmly on track in changing the fortunes of Amakhosi , a year after re-joining them.

Chiefs will go into the festive break at the top of the log and for his efforts, Middendorp has just won the PSL coach of the month award for the third time in a row.

"It's the technical team who make it happen, to be successful. The reference point for us is always the last game to go into a certain standard and to do better," Middendorp felt.

"To be representing the technical team of Chiefs for the third time is a very proud moment for all of us at Naturena."

Meanwhile, Sipho Mbule grabbed player of the month award for November.

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