New Chiefs coach Middendorp prepares to show the Amakhosi fans what he's got
Ernst Middendorp has said he has identified two or three key areas that need improving immediately from Kaizer Chiefs as he begins his second tenure as head coach against SuperSport United at Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday night.
All eyes will be on Middendorp‚ and what changes he might have been able to instil at seventh-placed Chiefs in a short period of time since his appointment on Friday‚ in the Absa Premiership matchup against sixth-placed Matsatsantsa.
Amakhosi’s new coach said‚ aware that Chiefs’ morale is low from poor results‚ he made an effort not to begin work in training from Saturday overloading the players with too much new information.
“I’m aware that points must come.
"But the team now has this feeling of not being successful for the past few weeks‚ and not really feeling good about it‚” Middendorp said.
“It’s not like I will jump in and hammer them‚ or whatever. We are trying to put two or three elements. Not too much. Not to overload them.
“And I hope we can transfer it into the game against SuperSport on Wednesday.”
Middendorp has attended some Chiefs matches in the past month as Amakhosi laboured under his predecessor‚ Giovanni Solinas‚ who was fired on Friday.
The 60-year-old former Maritzburg United and Bloemfontein Celtic coach was asked what areas he had identified that need attention at Chiefs.
“The advantage is definitely the number of players who I know in the club here‚” Middendorp replied.
“‘Itu’ [Itumeleng Khune]‚ of course‚ in the time I was here before [in 2005 to 2007]. Some other players‚ I think‚ through the matches I have played against Kaizer Chiefs in the past years. I know Willard Katsande‚ I know Bernard Parker‚ I know Lebogang Manyama.
“At the moment I would say perhaps 20 percent of the squad [I don’t know]. Players like Dax‚ who has just come into the country.
“Of course I have followed up with video sessions in the last two or three nights.
“But I have not really been busy too much looking into what went wrong‚ or what could be done different.
“For me it’s been important to see the players [in training] over the last few days‚ to see what we can do‚ and which direction we can implement some changes in terms of defence‚ attack and transition.”
Middendorp might be relieved that his programme in December favours him‚ because the SuperSport fixture is the beginning of a tough league run through January into early February.
After Matsatsantsa – where any result other than a loss will be reasonable – Chiefs face Madagascan club Elgeco Plus at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday‚ then away on December 22‚ in the penultimate round before the group stage of the Caf Confederation Cup.
In January Amakhosi return to league action against Mamelodi Sundowns (home)‚ Bidvest Wits (away)‚ AmaZulu (away) and then meet Cape Town City at home on February 2.