Ernst Middendorp watches over the Kaizer Chiefs practice with Arthur Zwane on Monday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

New coach Ernst Middendorp believes he knows “20 players quite well” at Kaizer Chiefs, and that will help him to make a decisive start in his second tenure at Naturena.

German mentor Middendorp was a surprise choice as a replacement for Giovanni Solinas as the Amakhosi coach last Friday.

But the 60-year-old said in a Q&A interview on the Chiefs website on Monday that he needs to get going immediately in begin the task of making them title contenders again.

Chiefs will begin life under Middendorp for a second time when they face SuperSport United on Wednesday at Mbombela Stadium (7.30pm kickoff).

He has been joined by former Bafana striker Shaun Bartlett as the assistant coach.

“I didn’t need a lot of time to think about it when the call came, because I know the club is very professional, and I feel having some unfinished business at the club, even though we won two trophies between 2005 and 2007,” Middendorp said.

“No one is happy with where the club is at. Not picking up a trophy for three seasons is not something that can be seen as normal for a club like Chiefs.

“The plan is to challenge for what is left this season. There are 16 games to go in the league – there are also the Nedbank Cup and the Caf Confederation Cup to focus on.

“There are certain players I’ve worked with, and I know some from working in the PSL. Knowing the players, the PSL environment and the team will help in getting the team to play the brand of football we need to win.

“I could say that I know 20 players quite well. I can identify their potential, and it’s not difficult. What helps is knowing the league and the PSL structure.

“I’ve personally worked with seven of the players in the past at different clubs in the league. I have some ideas, but have to see how the players will respond.

“We have a few sessions before our next game, and that will help. We’ve got to hit the ground running because the schedule is tight.”

Ernst Middendorp, seen here with Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung on Monday, believes his knowledge of the local players will help him achieve results quickly. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Ernst Middendorp, seen here with Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung on Monday, believes his knowledge of the local players will help him achieve results quickly. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Middendorp added that he “didn’t need a lot of time” to think about taking up the Chiefs post when contacted, and that he had unfinished business at the club.

He has been coaching at various levels at Bangkok United in Thailand over the last few years, and helped guide them to Asian Champions League qualification.

But he knows that trophies are the main currency at any top-level side, and having won two pieces of silverware in his first stint at the Glamour Boys, Middendorp wants to bring joy to the long-suffering supporters once more.

“Coming to Kaizer Chiefs as a player, a member of the technical team or head coach, it is a norm and expectation to perform and win.

“We don’t need the chairman to come and tell us what’s expected – it’s written on everyone’s face, and we know it. The reality is that we have to do well and win trophies.”

@ashfakmohamed


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