Kaizer Chiefs sack German Middendorp after league failure

Soweto (South Africa) (AFP) –


Kaizer Chiefs, the most successful South African club with 53 domestic titles, fired German coach Ernst Middendorp on Wednesday after he failed to win a trophy during 22 months in charge.

Soweto-based Chiefs squandered a 13-point lead in the recently completed 2019/2020 league season with a draw against lowly Baroka last Saturday condemning them to second place behind Mamelodi Sundowns.

That failure meant Chiefs have gone five seasons without a trophy -- the worst barren spell for a club that turned 50 this year.

Club chairman Kaizer Motaung, a former national star who formed the club in January 1970, said Middendorp had been axed after a thorough review of the past season.

"We considered many aspects related to the team, including our way of playing, our performances and the results before coming to the decision," he said.

"I truly believed and hoped that our 50th anniversary would be better, and it indeed looked promising for much of the league season.

"The decision to change coaches is part of a strategy to have the team win trophies again and to make our supporters happy because they deserve better.

"We have to take responsibility -- we cannot wait and allow this situation to continue," Motaung said.

Chiefs won only two of eight post-shutdown matches and secured just nine points from a possible 24, opening the door for Sundowns to snatch a third straight league title.

Middendorp previously coached Chiefs between 2005 and 2007 and won two cup competitions before leaving.

The 61-year-old, who has always had a strained relationship with the South African media, coached several other top-flight clubs in the republic and also Hearts of Oak in Ghana.