Chiefs sack Solinas, hire Middendorp
Well-travelled German steps into Italian’s soft shoes
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.
NEW Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp, centre, with club chairman Kaizer Motaung, left, and football manager Bobby Motaung |