Middendorp's shock return to Amakhosi makes little sense

Ernst Middendorp is back at Kaizer Chiefs .
Ernst Middendorp is back at Kaizer Chiefs .
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

In appointing Ernst Middendorp as their new coach, Kaizer Chiefs have reunited with someone with whom they had a less-than-amicable divorce in 2007.

The German was dramatically appointed to the job on Friday to replace Giovanni Solinas, who was sacked the same day. The 60-year-old returns for his second stint at the club where he was at the helm between 2005 and 2007.

His return comes as a major surprise considering the fallout he had with the club when he was fired 11 years ago, a few games before the end of the season.

So unimpressed were Chiefs fans with his style of play and tactics that they mockingly dubbed him "Middendraw" and "Mazinyo.com" (in reference to his falling dentures).

After his axing back then, Middendorp famously said in an interview: "In my 15 years as a soccer coach, I have never seen such selfish supporters. The media was also putting pressure on me by challenging all my decisions."

Middendorp will jump straight into the frying pan as he is likely to be in the hot seat against SuperSport United on Wednesday.

It is understood that Middendorp has permanent residency in SA and will not need to obtain a work permit before starting the job at Naturena.

Club supremo Kaizer Motaung said: "We were looking for a coach who is experienced and who has an understanding of the club's footballing culture. That's certainly the case with Middendorp, who won trophies during his previous stint in charge of Kaizer Chiefs.

"Middendorp also understands South African football well, having a vast knowledge and experience of our local football. We are looking forward to working together."

After taking the gamble to appoint unaccomplished Italian Solinas at the start of the season, the Soweto club has made a desperate attempt to go with the tried and tested.

Middendorp has had a long but generally unconvincing career in South African football since his arrival in 2005. He has coached numerous clubs in the country, including Golden Arrows, Maritzburg United, Free State Stars and Chippa United but never won silverware with them.

He won the SAA Super 8 and Absa Cup with Chiefs in 2006 but much of that team was still largely the core that was built by the vastly successful previous coach, Ted Dumitru.

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