Durban – Local could well turn out to be lekker for Maritzburg United as they close in on their preferred candidate to be the club’s new head coach.
Former Maritzburg assistant coach Clinton Larsen is among the local front-runners for the post vacated last week by German Ernst Middendorp.
Should Durban-born Larsen rejoin Maritzburg it would be an ironic twist in the coaching merry-go-round tale. Last week Larsen resigned from Bloemfontein Celtic, to be replaced by Middendorp.
Maritzburg chairman Farook Kadodia said that he hoped to finalise the appointment after interviewing various candidates over the weekend.
“Clinton Larsen is on the shortlist, but we can’t say more than that. We have three local coaches and one foreign coach that we are considering,” said Kadodia on Monday.
Former Lamontville Golden Arrows coach Manqoba Mngqithi and Celtic assistant coach Boebie Solomons have also been linked to the position. Solomons is no stranger to the Maritzburg set-up, having previously coached the side when they were in the First Division. Foreigners who applied for the job include Frenchmen Roger Lemerre, Henri Michel and Claude le Roy.
Middendorp’s departure was not surprising, said Kadodia, but it was disappointing.
“It was coming, he was pushing us to fire him. There were some issues, such as his outburst in the media after the games against Mpumalanga Black Aces and Moroka Swallows, and the fact that he was already in contact with Bloemfontein Celtic regarding their head coach vacancy before having submitted his resignation. It clearly showed that the coach’s commitment to the club was no longer existent.”
Middendorp, meanwhile, has been instructed to maintain a top-eight finish in the Premiership this season for Celtic, reports Sapa.
“We did not give Middendorp the same mandate as our previous coach, Clinton Larsen,” said Bloemfontein Celtic managing director Jimmy Augousti. “He must ensure the team finish and remain a top-eight competitor.”
Middendorp signed a three-year contract and the club had high hopes of an improved performance.