He’s back!

2012-01-19 00:00

JUST 10 months after an outburst on national television lead to his sacking from the club, Ernst Middendorp has been re-hired by Maritzburg United.

The news broke yesterday after club chairperson Farouk Kadodia travelled to Johannesburg to meet with the 53-year-old German. Middendorp was sacked by Kadodia in March last year after leading United to the brink of relegation. He was then replaced by Ian Palmer, whose influence saved the club from relegation last term and has seen them solidify a position in mid-table this season.

But a fall-out between Kadodia and Palmer over the coach’s desire to attend a Safa coaching course meant that another manager was shipped out of Harry Gwala stadium, which laid the platform for Middendorp’s surprising return.

“I feel that we have got the right person who can do the job for the club,” Kadodia told The Witness yesterday. “We needed a guy who has PSL experience and who knows the team well.”

Kadodia said the fact that Middendorp knows many of the squad members well, having been with them so recently, was also a reason that he was offered the job.

“He will have the full backing of the team, he knows the players and the PSL very well,” he said.

A week before his previous sacking from United, Middendorp publically challenged the club’s bosses to fire him after a 2-2 draw against Vasco da Gama did his then-relegation-threatened side no favours in their quest to stay up.

“That issue was spoken about and it has been resolved,” Kadodia ensured. “Ernst has given us his word that he will be completely committed to the club and will play his part in keeping the team spirit that the side currently has.”

Asked about how he thought the fans would react to the new gaffer, Kadodia was realistic.

“I think if the manager starts delivering the type of football that we are looking for, then the fans will support him,” he said.

With United starting the season aiming for a top eight finish and currently in 11th place, Kadodia says nothing has changed as far as his ambitions for the club this season are concerned.

“Last time we hired Ernst it was to keep us in the PSL,” the chairman said. “This time he knows that he has been hired to guide us to the top eight.”

Middendorp ousted other frontrunners former AmaZulu coach Manqoba Mngqithi, former Santos coach Boebie Solomons and former Orlando Pirates coach Ruud Krol for the position.

He arrives in Pietermaritzburg today.

Speaking of his relationship with Middendorp given the history between the pair, Kadodia spoke honestly.

“You can’t be friends with everybody,” he said. “The relationship we have is one of business.”

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