DURBAN – Ernst Middendorp saved Maritzburg United from relegation two seasons ago but ironically, the German tactician has the responsibility to inflict more misery on his former side.
Chiefs will welcome Maritzburg to FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Two seasons ago the Team of Choice were down and out but Middendorp rescued them in the last game of the season against Jomo Cosmos. He was their messiah but now he will be their chief tormentor.
Maritzburg are rooted at the foot of the table with 17 points after 22 games. They are in desperate need of points, while Amakhosi are also still with a slim chance of winning the league. Mathematically they can still do it but their destiny is not on their own hands. All they have to do is to win their games and hope that other titles contenders will drop points.
“Off course I’ve got history with Maritzburg and I don’t need to explain that in details. I’m now 100% with Kaizer Chiefs and there’s no looking right or left. What I can tell you is that I’ve got two teams (that are close in to my heart).
When I was not with Kaizer Chiefs, I had three teams where I was always looking at their results (with interest). I have a huge history with Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga and the next one is Maritzburg United,” Middendorp said.
Middendorp has had four stints with the Team of Choice. If Chiefs didn’t hire him, chances are that he would have been back at Maritzburg at this stage.
“When I was in Bangkok, I always asked how Chiefs played. Everybody can handle it to go with three teams. They will come out of it (relegation) as they have the resources to do so. It is a three pointer and we will do everything to bring it in to our advantage,” he added.
Chiefs played without Willard Katsande this past weekend, and when Middendorp was asked about his absence, replied:
“The routine in our side, is that we go through a normal process of recruiting and selecting players at the start of the week. We start from 20 to 18. It is normal. Some players are in and some players are out. Some players need a little of time.
Leonardo Castro played well after not being 100% structured in our cup game. He is back and he is quite into it. It is not about who is in and who is not in. Chiefs is a big brand and bigger than one player.”