Sport

Can Middendorp preserve his sterling record?

2019-02-09 16:10

Saturday’s Soweto derby will mark the return of coach Ernst Middendorp to the epic fixture that he hardly lost during his bittersweet first spell with Kaizer Chiefs.

Out of four official encounters against Orlando Pirates while at the helm of Amakhosi from 2005 to 2007, the German left with a record of three wins and a draw.

In his maiden season, Middendorp steered Chiefs to a hat-trick of wins over their township rivals during the 2005/06 season – two league victories and a triumph in the now defunct Absa Cup.

Interestingly, it was his current assistant coach Shaun Bartlett who saved Middendorp from the jaws of defeat in the derby.

The then Bafana Bafana striker snatched a late equaliser in injury time to cancel out Benedict Vilakazi’s eighth-minute goal in the first-round meeting of the 2006/07 campaign, a derby that would be Middendorp’s last in charge.

The game also marked a debut for Milutin Sredojevic in a Soweto derby – the only time the two faced off in this particular clash.

The stalemate on December 9 2006 was one of the many draws that Middendorp endured during his tenure at Amakhosi, subsequently prompting the “Middendraw” nickname.

The former Asante Kotoko coach was officially relieved of his duties on March 5 2007, the season Chiefs finished outside the top eight for the first time in the club’s history.

Middendorp was reappointed last month after the sacking of Giovanni Solinas, who lasted for five months on the job before his sacking on December 7.

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Middendorp inherited a team that has already suffered back-to-back defeats to Pirates so far this season.

Can Middendorp turn the tables and, in the process, preserve his intact record in the Soweto derby? 

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February 17 2019