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Middendorp reveals reason why Kaizer Chiefs collapsed in 2019/20 PSL title race against Mamelodi Sundowns

21:15 BST 26/09/2022
Ernst Middendorp Kaizer Chiefs December 2018
Former Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has opened up on how Amakhosi missed out on the 2019/20 Premier Soccer League title.
  • The German led Amakhosi in one of the greatest meltdowns in PSL history
  • Chiefs missed what looked like a golden opportunity for silverware
  • The collapse allowed Mamelodi Sundowns to continue with their domestic dominance

WHAT HAPPENED? Kaizer Chiefs led the standings for the better part of the season and at one time were 12 points clear at the top. But they allowed Mamelodi Sundowns to launch a comeback and snatch the Premier Soccer League title on the last day of the season. Having last claimed any piece of silverware when they won the 2014/15 league title, it was a missed opportunity for the Soweto giants. PSL action was suspended due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown and Middendorp blames some of his former players for returning unfit.

WHAT THEY SAID: “We had no influence to keep players straight into the day-to-day program on what we had before,” Middendorp told iDiski Times.

“We had workshops twice a month with the players together to keep them in unison, and when the league was stopped in March until June, we had no control. We couldn’t influence everything in the right direction to put them together, and you could see already that only 14 days we prepared, we had them together, and you could see the physical side, you could see the mindset, you could see the brain was not directed in the way as we had them when the league was stopped with Covid-19 coming in March 2020.

“For me, this is the reason we were not able to go ahead and finalise the season being on top. The preparations were not at the same level as we did it before. Of course, it looked like it was over the line, but we should have been able to do our off-the-field stuff, communicating with our players in the morning and afternoon to keep them focused. I’ll be 100 percent sure that it would have been a clear championship at the end of the season. “From March until the middle of June you have to give them freedom and self-responsibility [to train on their own]. Only four out of 10 are not doing what was requested from them, are not keeping themselves sharp and then what?

“You need everybody on the field, not six out of 10, but everybody who has to contribute from the start of the game until the end of the game, even if it was 98 minutes. That was for me the main reason at that time.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: After the disappointment of missing out on the league title, Chiefs then fired Middendorp. Veteran coaches Gavin Hunt and Stuart Baxter have come after Middendorp but have failed to ease Amakhosi’s struggles. Arthur Zwane is now in charge trying to succeed where his predecessors failed.


WHAT NEXT FOR MIDDENDORP? Middendorp has now been linked with the Swallows FC job following the sacking of Dylan Kerr. The German has worked at other PSL clubs like Golden Arrows, Bloemfontein Celtic, Maritzburg United and Chippa United.