Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung after firing coach Middendorp: 'We are aware that the supporters are hurting '

Kaizer Motaung during the Kaizer Chiefs end of season awards evening at Theatre on the Track, Kyalami on June 01, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kaizer Motaung during the Kaizer Chiefs end of season awards evening at Theatre on the Track, Kyalami on June 01, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs finally showed hugely 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 chairman Kaizer Motaung and his management 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‚” said Motaung.

“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 2014-15 season‚ where the coach had brought the club their second league and cup double in three years.

Middendorp joined the club 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 massive embarrassment for Motaung.

Chiefs were beaten 1-0 by lowly TS Galaxy in the final in Durban and Motaung admitted that his club's embarrassing defeat ranked as the lowest point of his career as chairman of the ailing team.

Motaung revealed at the time that he was struggling to recover from the humiliation of losing a major cup final to a lower tier club they were heavily favoured to brush aside.

“I must say it is the lowest point for me as chairman of the club because we have never lost a cup final to a National First Division club.

"I am still traumatized even now and I am still trying to recover‚” he said at the time.

Motaung said on Wednesday they 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.”

Middendorp's assistant Shaun Bartlett's future will be decided at a later stage.

Motaung thanked Middendorp and wished all the best for the future.

“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. We are a listening organisation and we respect their right to express their dissatisfaction with the team’s overall performance.

“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 pre-season training‚” Motaung said.

- TimesLIVE

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