8 days ago
WHAT A MESS!
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp and their fans were dejected upon realising they have finished the season outside of the top eight. Photos by Backpagepixand Gallo Images  ~ 

DISASTER!

That is how Ernst Middendorp described the situation in the aftermath of Kaizer Chiefs’ 1-0 loss to Chippa United, which has cost them a place in the top eight.

But the same description could well go for the entire season, in which they won NINE league matches, lost NINE with 39 points and finished the season number NINE.

The 2018-19 season will go down as one of Chiefs’ worst in the PSL era after they collected a paucity of 39 points and finished ninth.

Also in the 2006-07 season, Chiefs finished outside the top eight bracket with 42 points.

Ironically, it was Middendorp who was also in charge of the team when they first failed to make the top eight.

When the German returned to Amakhosi in December last year, talk was all about him bringing a different approach and philosophy to Chiefs after the departure of failed Italian coach Giovanni Solinas.

In his first game, Middendorp started on the positive note by defeating SuperSport United 1-0, halting a run of two winless matches.

There was an air of expectancy that things would continue in the same vein, but Middendorp struggled to find the right combinations.

But their inconsistent run of results have come at the cost.

Amakhosi will miss next season’s MTN8 competition – the tournament they have won more than any other club in the PSL.

In 23 games Middendorp has taken charge in all competitions, Chiefs so far have won 11, lost seven and have drawn five.

Of course, the German cannot be solely blamed for their disaster.

The Chiefs management must also take some blame.

The Soweto giants’ management have been poor in player recruitment.

The era post the success of Stuart Baxter in the 2014-15 season, has barely borne any fruit.

Players like Siyanda Xulu, Camaldine Abraw, Lewis Macha, Edward Manqele, David Zulu, Siphelele Mthembu, Keagan Buchanan, Bhongolwethu Jayiya, Gustavo Paez, have all come and gone without making any meaningful contribution to Amakhosi.

But Middendorp and Chiefs can still salvage their poor season by winning the Nedbank Cup.

They face National First Division (NFD) side TS Galaxy at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday (7pm).

Going to Durban, Chiefs should carry loads of hope that the venue has been a happy hunting ground for them since it was open before the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Middendorp, himself, heading to Durban, should be more relieved.

The two trophies he won in the PSL have all been won in KwaZulu-Natal.

First, it was the Absa Cup in which they defeated Orlando Pirates at Kings Park Stadium in 2006.

The following season, he guided Chiefs to the SAA Supa 8 against SuperSport United.

Chiefs football manager, Bobby Motaung, was not available for comment yesterday.

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