Thursday Sep 10, 2020. 09:00
Kaizer Chiefs officially parted ways with Ernst Middendorp on Wednesday evening.
The German mentor leaves Naturena after falling agonisingly short of Absa Premiership glory on the final day of the 2019/20 season.
The Amakhosi were favourites to win the league title after building a substantial lead through the course of the campaign, but could only conjure a 1-1 draw against Baroka FC on Saturday as Mamelodi Sundowns pipped them to the post.
Middendorp took over the reins from Giovanni Solinas at the Soweto giants in December 2018 for a second stint at the club.
The 61-year-old failed to secure a top-eight finish with Chiefs dropping to ninth on the final day of the 2018/19 season following a 1-0 loss to Chippa United, but the club looked sure to end their trophy drought in the Nedbank Cup final. Chiefs, though, went on to suffer a shock loss to TS Galaxy in Durban and having come so close yet so far once again, the Soweto club have decided to part ways with the former Arminia Bielefeld boss.
In his 60 matches in charge, Middendorp led Chiefs to 31 wins (12 draws, 17 losses).
“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 Kaizer Chiefs Chairman Kaizer Motaung in a statement released by the club.
“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.”
“After giving the coach and the technical team the ammunition required to compete in the new season,” Motaung adds, “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.”
You can read the full statement here.
Former Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt is the early favourite to replace Middendorp at Naturena.