General

Absa Premiership giants Kaizer Chiefs have provided an interview chat with their new head coach Ernst Middendorp who was announced after the departure of Giovanni Solinas last week.

Amakhosi published the chat on their website on Monday afternoon.

“The Kaizer Chiefs media team sat down with the coach as he starts his journey as an Amakhosi coach just to get his thoughts on the team and share some of his plans,” the club said.

Middendorp’s full interview:

Kaizer Chiefs: Welcome back coach, it’s good to have you back.
Ernst Middendorp: Thank you. It is indeed nice to be back.

How do you feel about rejoining Kaizer Chiefs?
It is quite an emotional feeling, I must say. It’s been over ten years and a lot has changed. But looking at the developments, I’m quite comfortable that things will be fine.

What are the changes you notice after 10 years?
I immediately noticed the impressive infrastructure at the Village. I believe we can compare our facilities with a few performance centers I’ve seen while traveling the world in the last three years. For instance, it’s at the same level as what I recently saw in Germany and more specifically Borussia Dortmund. It’s absolutely world class.

How did you feel when you received a call from Kaizer Chiefs?
I didn’t need a lot of time to think about it when the call came because I know the club is very professional and I feel having some unfinished business at the club, even though we won two trophies between 2005 and 2007

Are you happy with your contract?
For me it’s not about the number of years in the contract – it’s about building a unit and a force that can produce results. Obviously, that will take a bit of time, but we will do our best to make it happen.

Where were you over the last few years since leaving South Africa?
I was in Bangkok. I was attached to Bangkok United for two years. We finished in position three in the first season and came second in the season that ended in October/November. I worked with all the structures, including their development. But the focus was more on the senior team to ensure that we produced the desired results. We helped the senior team qualify for the Asian Champions League. I was involved in the club’s overall strategic movements from the professional side to the development structures. But I have been visiting South Africa and watching PSL matches whenever given a chance. For instance, I watched the Soweto Derby in October.

What are your thoughts about where Kaizer Chiefs are at the moment?
No one is happy with where the club is at. Not picking up a trophy for three seasons is not something that can be seen as normal for a club like Chiefs. The plan is to challenge what is left this season. There are 16 games to go in the league, there are also the Nedbank Cup and the CAF Confederation Cup to focus on.

How will you improve the current position?
There are certain players I’ve worked with and I know some from working in the PSL. Knowing the players, the PSL environment and the team will help in getting the team to play the brand of football we need to win.

Are you familiar with any of the players?
I could say that I know 20 players quite well. I can identify their potential and it’s not difficult. What helps is knowing the league and the PSL structure. I’ve personally worked with seven of the players in the past at different clubs in the league. I have some ideas but have to see how the players will respond. We have a few sessions before our next game and that will help.

What are your plans?
We’ve got to hit the ground running because the schedule is tight. I’m not complaining because it’s part of being a professional. We need to show good performances and get results.
Once again, the schedule is tight, but we’ve got to work. Sometimes it’s better to play instead of long breaks in between games.

Have you been given any mandate?
Coming to Kaizer Chiefs as a player, a member of the technical team or head coach, it is a norm and expectation to perform and win. We don’t need the Chairman to come and tell us what’s expected, it’s written on everyone’s face and we know it. The reality is that we have to do well and win trophies.

Are you going shopping during the midseason window period?
We have to see the players we’ve got and seen what we require. Rama (Ramahlwe Mphahlele), Joseph (Molangoane) and (Mulomowandau) Mathoho are nursing injuries and we know their quality, but I won’t be seeing them immediately. We have to look at players at all times, assess where you need reinforcement and recommend to the club.

Middendorp will make his second Amakhosi debut against SuperSport United on Wednesday, 13 December at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

Read more: Middendorp’s First Words As New Chiefs Coach