Mosimane praises ‘awkward’‚ ‘brave’ and ‘highly tactical’ Chiefs coach Middendorp
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has professed himself an open admirer of the change Ernst Middendorp has brought to Kaizer Chiefs since he arrived at Naturena in December.
Mosimane‚ the country's most successful club coach of the last six years‚ praised Middendorp for being “awkward”‚ “brave” and “highly tactical”.
Middendorp‚ who replaced the muddled Giovanni Solinas in December‚ has notably tightened up Chiefs with a high degree of tactical preparation and structure and exciting speed in attack and surprising team selections that have kept the opposition guessing.
Chiefs reached the Nedbank Cup semifinals with a slick‚ dynamic 2-0 beating of MTN8 champions Cape Town City at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday and Mosimane was impressed.
“Coach Middendorp is awkward. He plays very awkward football‚" Downs' coach said after his team's 0-0 Absa Premiership draw against second-placed Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Monday night to extend the Brazilians' lead to three points.
“It's highly tactical. It's unbelievable‚ the tactics. He plays his own way. He's brave. He can put anybody on the bench.
"He doesn't care. He can play with Bruce Bvuma in goal. Ask me if my fourth goalkeeper would take over? His fourth goalkeeper took over.
“Because ‘Itu' (Itimeleng Khune) is first choice. And I would say Willem Vries and Daniel Akpeyi are second or third.
"He [Middendorp] is doing it. No issues‚ no problems. He is bringing in the youngsters and they are coming up. I think Chiefs are a team to watch next year."
In the league‚ Middendorp has kept Chiefs in with a chance of a respectably-placed finish.
Five victories‚ three draws and just two defeats have Amakhosi in seventh place‚ but just eight points behind Downs.