Middendorp’s return to Kaizer Chiefs was not met with much enthusiasm by most of the club’s supporters, but there was something fresh and promising about the team as they were put through their paces in Naturena earlier this week.
The German seemed to be introducing an exciting element to the team’s play which could be a sign of better things to come.
When Middendorp left Chiefs a few years ago, he was a brash and sometimes harsh taskmaster but he looks to have matured a little and become more understanding of the local way of doing things after over 10 years in the country.
“The advantage is that I know most of the players,” he said. “I have played against Kaizer Chiefs in the past. At this moment I would say it is maybe 20% of the squad that I don’t know well. A player like Dax, I have never seen him before as he has just come to the country. I have been doing video sessions in the last two nights to find out more.
“But for me it is not about looking into what went wrong or what could be done differently. What’s important is to see the players like I have been doing in the last two days to see what we can do and what direction we need to take it terms of defence, attack and transition.
“We will have three games now before the break (for Christmas). As we have just seen at the weekend we should never underestimate teams like Baroka,” he said.
Middendorp has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with an option to extend at Amakhosi and the club’s football manager Bobby Motaung said they had to release Giovanni Solinas because the team didn’t look to be progressing under his guidance.
“It was not an emotional decision. While looking at the challenges we had to find solutions and not quick fixes. Fortunately Ernst was available although he was contracted elsewhere.
“I cannot say we made a mistake. He (Solinas) ticked all the boxes when we interviewed him. Unfortunately in football we can sit and agree on things but the key thing is results. The players were unresponsive to his methods,” said Motaung.
Middendorp’s first assignment is a league game against SuperSport United at Mbombela Stadium tomorrow night.