JOHANNESBURG – Having been tasked with the role of leading the team back to championship material, Ernst Middendorp channelled into the demands of the new term during Kaizer Chiefs’ win over Highlands Park in their Premiership opener on Saturday.
Following a four-year trophy drought, Chiefs are in a race against time to turn what’s growing an underwhelming outfit back to the pedigree that made them the most successful team in the PSL.
However, the man who’s been assigned to steer the team back to greatness has been under pressure in the last six months, especially after guiding the team to the disappointing ninth-place finish in the Premiership last term and missing out of the MTN8 competition for the first time in 13 years. Chiefs retained Middendorp for the new season, huffing and puffing to snatch a late win against Highlands on Saturday.
It was a match of roller-coaster emotions for the German tactician, showing a man that’s under huge pressure to deliver if he’s to buy himself more time at the helm.
He argued with the referees in the second half. From thereon, he went on to wildly celebrate Eric Mathoho’s winner - something that he’s not accustomed to. While later he stormed out of post-match media briefing after being asked about potentially being replaced by former Bafana Bafana Stuart Baxter - who resigned on Friday - if he doesn’t deliver success this season.