By Joana Arries-Tagoe

Premier Soccer League [PSL] giant – Kaizer Chiefs have parted ways with coach Ernst Middendorp despite still having a year left on his contract.

The announcement comes on the back of the poor results the Amakhosi recorded in the twilight of the 2019/20 Absa Premiership season, allowing Mamelodi Sundowns to leapfrog them for the title.

Below is the statement on the official Amakhosi website with regards to Ernst Middendorp’s departure:

“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,” confirms 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.”

Middendorp joined Chiefs on 7 December 2018. In his first six months in charge, the German coach took Amakhosi to ninth position on the Absa Premiership table and reached the Nedbank Cup final.

“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.”

Chairman Kaizer Motaung thanks Middendorp for his efforts and work: “We wish him all the best for the future.”

“We pride ourselves on having built a strong legacy and a culture based on winning,” the Chairman continues. “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 after a grueling completion of the season and will return before the end of September to start preparing for the 2020/21 season.

“We will announce the new coach before the team returns for pre-season training,” Motaung concludes.