By Ramotswedi Rammutla, 09 September 2020.
Mahikeng: After a devastating loss of the top spot to rival Sundowns FC in the Premier Soccer League,Kaizer Chiefs has announced that it will with immediate effect part ways with head coach Ernst Middendorp. Amkhosi who had been leading the tally since the beginning of the league and after its resumption during lockdown lost points leading to the end of the season.
Sundowns FC lifted the trophy after winning their match against Black Leopards FC on Saturday 05 September, while long time log leaders Kaizer Chiefs were held to a 1-1 draw by Baroka FC. In a statement after a meeting on Wednesday September 09, between Amakhosi Chairman Kaizer Motaung, club management and the Board the decision was made to sack Middendorp.
“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”, said Motaung.
Middendorp who joined the team in late 2018 was able to take the team to the top of the league as well as secure them a Nedbank Cup final spot. The team had a good run until the last few matches of the 2019\2020 season. Matuang recognized that the team had dropped in performance after the lockdown. “After giving the coach and the technical team the ammunition required competing in the new season, there were some improvements, and this was evident during the first seven months of this 2019/2020 season” elaborated Motaung.
“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” added Motaung.
Motaung sent a heartfelt apology to the team’s fans and wished Middendorp well. “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. We wish him all the best for the future and we will announce the new coach before the team returns for pre-season training,” Motaung concluded.
Meanwhile SAFA President Darny Jordan congratulated Sundowns for retaining the league championship. “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sundowns Football Club for being true champions. This is their third league title on the trot and 10th overall and well done to coach Pitso Mosimane and his technical team for leading the team to the top again,” said Dr Jordaan.
Jordan commended Sundowns club president for his vision as well as praised the team for their resilience. “Competing in Africa year in year out and continuing to dominate the domestic front shows the vision of club President, Mr Patrice Motsepe and his board. Winning the league title also means Sundowns will once again be representing South Africa together with Kaizer Chiefs in the CAF Champions League tournament while Orlando Pirates and Bloemfontein Celtics will take part in the CAF Confed Cup.”
‘’Up until the final whistle, the league could have gone either way but ultimately Sundowns through their never-say-die attitude, prevailed. The club has done well in CAF club competitions and we look forward to them raising the South African flag again together with other continental representatives. When our clubs do well in CAF tournaments, it rubs off on our national teams especially the senior men’s national team, Bafana Bafana,” concluded Dr Jordan.