Kaizer Chiefs finally showed hugely polarising coach Ernst Middendorp the door on Wednesday after days of pressure from unhappy fans.
The decision to sack the German came just days after Chiefs meekly surrendered the league title to Mamelodi Sundowns after leading the standings for almost a year.
Club chair 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 2014/2015 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 Premiership table a few months later. Chiefs also secured a place in the final of the Nedbank Cup but even this feat ended in huge 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 chair 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 traumatised 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, 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 him all the best for the future.
“We will announce the new coach before the team returns for preseason training,” Motaung said.
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