Bleomfontein – Newly-appointed coach at Bloemfontein Celtic, Ernst Middendorp must maintain a top-eight finish in the Premiership this season, managing director Jimmy Augousti said on Monday.
“We did not give Middendorp the same mandate as our previous coach Clinton Larsen, but he must ensure the team finish and remain a top-eight competitor,” Augousti said.
The former Kaizer Chiefs and Lamontville Golden Arrows mentor replaced Larsen, who resigned last week after Celtic suffered a 4-0 drubbing against Mamelodi Sundowns in their Knockout Cup encounter.
Their elimination meant they failed to defend the trophy they won last season against Sundowns.
Middendorp signed a three-year contract and the club had high hopes of an improved performance after poaching the coach from Maritzburg United.
The Celtic boss said negotiations with Middendorp started last Tuesday.
“We offered him a longer contact because we believe he is capable of delivering for us. He is a coach with pedigree and has Premiership experience,” Augousti said.
The German-born coach was equally confident of achieving his mandate.
“The club has quality players and I look forward to working with them,” Middendorp said.
“We have to improve tactically and with the ability I have seen in the players, I think it is possible to realise the challenge.
“There was nothing unethical in me leaving Maritzburg when I still had a contract with them. It's a good opportunity to coach Celtic and I look forward to a new chapter.”
His contact at Maritzburg was only due to expire next year in June.
Middendorp retained Boebie Solomons, who worked under Larsen, as his assistant coach.
His first assignment was a home league fixture against Moroka Swallows next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Larsen had been linked with a move to Maritzburg. – Sapa