Kaizer Chiefs took everyone by surprise on Friday as they confirmed the departure of head coach Giovanni Solinas.
However, while some celebrated the Italian’s departure, it didn’t take too long for the negativity to creep back in after former coach Ernst Middendorp was roped back in.
The German-born tactician’s appointment has been met with a lot of pessimism and confusion, considering his lack of success.
But Amakhosi management must have certainly known something that the majority of fans didn’t as he was awarded a two and half year deal, which would have had even the most ardent of Chiefs fans scratching their head in disbelief.
Although, Middendorp was relatively successful during his previous spell with Chiefs guiding them to Absa Cup and SAA Supa 8 successes, his career has been filled with mostly downs ever since.
Stints at smaller clubs such as Golden Arrows, Chippa United, Free State Stars, Bloemfontein Celtic and several stints at Maritzburg United followed. But he has not enjoyed much success, begging the question why Chiefs would put their hopes on the 60-year-old.
Bringing Solinas to Chiefs was a bold move by the Glamour Boys as he was a coach who did not enjoy much success at his previous clubs. With the appointment of Middendorp, Chiefs seem to have found someone in the same boat, albeit maybe a slight upgrade.
If Middendorp’s previous work is anything to go by then Chiefs will be an organised outfit. This may delight some fans because at times Chiefs looked shambolic at the back and upfront they appeared devoid of ideas with Solinas at the helm.
Worrying though, is whether or not Middendorp can hit the ground running at Naturena.
His first game in charge will be against SuperSport United on Wednesday which should be a tricky encounter.
With the season already 14 league games deep, it remains to be seen if Middendorp can influence Chiefs to challenge for the league title or will Chiefs’ management declare this as another season part of the rebuilding phase.
A rebuilding phase with Middendorp at the club is perhaps a contradiction. His track record suggests that he is not a coach who is used to longevity. Aside from his initial stint at the Team of Choice in 2009, he has hardly been at a club for longer than a year.
This is something that should concern Chiefs fans as they cannot be chopping and changing coaches every season as this is not becoming of a team that prides themselves as being at the forefront of South African football.
Nonetheless, Middendorp’s move should be seen with scepticism as he is certainly not the best man for the job. But it should also be noted that it’s not all doom and gloom as he isn’t their worst choice.