Chiefs sack Soli­nas, hire Mid­den­dorp

Well-trav­elled Ger­man steps into Ital­ian’s soft shoes

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MINENHLE MKHIZE [email protected]

KAIZER Chiefs have moved swiftly and re­placed fired Gio­vanni Soli­nas with for­mer coach Ernst Mid­den­dorp on a two and a half-year deal.

The well-trav­elled Ger­man coach was in charge of Amakhosi from 2005 to 2007 and de­liv­ered sil­ver­ware in the form of SAA Supa 8, Absa Cup and Telkom Knock­out.

Club boss Kaizer Mo­taung said of the ap­point­ment: “We were look­ing for a coach who is ex­pe­ri­enced and who has an un­der­stand­ing of the club’s foot­balling cul­ture. That’s cer­tainly the case with Mid­den­dorp.

“He also un­der­stands South African foot­ball well, hav­ing a vast knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence of our lo­cal foot­ball.

“We are look­ing for­ward to work­ing to­gether. We need sta­bil­ity and the coach will start work­ing with the team on Satur­day.”

Mid­den­dorp, who has also coached Maritzburg United and Bloem­fontein Celtic in the PSL, stepped in after a re­la­tion­ship that should never have been came to a pre­ma­ture end yes­ter­day as Chiefs parted ways with Soli­nas.

Such has been the Ital­ian’s in­ept­ness that Mo­taung went against his usual pa­tient ways of giv­ing his coaches time to prove them­selves.

Granted, he “fired” Steve Kom­phela with three matches to go be­fore the end of his con­tract, but Mo­taung had long ig­nored calls from the club’s sup­port­ers and sec­tions of the me­dia to get rid of the coach.

He had done the same with Vladimir Ver­me­zovic, whom he stood by and only got rid of with just seven matches left in his ten­ure.

When Chiefs hired Soli­nas as a re­place­ment for Kom­phela, who had failed to win them any sil­ver­ware in his three year ten­ure, it was mainly as a way of set­tling for what was avail­able – the club’s main tar­gets hav­ing proven elu­sive.

Amakhosi have fallen from grace so much that the likes of Par­tice Carteron and Stu­art Bax­ter proved hard to pin down for a side that was once among the con­ti­nent’s top clubs.

Soli­nas, who had pre­vi­ously coached Free State Stars, was ev­i­dently a com­pro­mise de­spite the club’s as­ser­tion to the con­trary.

When he started his reign poorly, club man­age­ment put it down to the fact he was still set­tling in, the coach hav­ing not been around for pre-sea­son train­ing.

But as he chopped and changed his team, par­tic­u­larly in de­fence, it be­came ev­i­dent that Soli­nas was out of his depth, with goal­keeper and cap­tain Itume­leng Khune lit­er­ally res­cu­ing the club from de­feats.

But triple losses to arch ri­vals Or­lando Pi­rates, the last of which – the Telkom Knock­out semi-fi­nal – had Khune al­most tear­ful as he lamented his tea­mates’ poor show­ing, got the Chiefs man­age­ment se­ri­ously hav­ing a re­think about their coach.

And this week when Chiefs

lost away to Za­mamoto in the Caf Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup de­spite hav­ing walked the first leg, it was time to say good­bye.

With the sea­son still not half­way done yet, the de­ci­sion to part with Soli­nas no doubt sug­gests they be­lieve Mid­den­dorp can help them sal­vage some­thing out of it and hope­fully bring an end to the many years of tro­phy drought.

The Ger­man’s first match will be against Su­perS­port United in a league match in Mbombela on Wed­nes­day night.

SUP­PLIED

NEW Chiefs coach Ernst Mid­den­dorp, cen­tre, with club chair­man Kaizer Mo­taung, left, and foot­ball man­ager Bobby Mo­taung |

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