Middendorp lashes out at PSL fans storming pitches

2012-10-04 00:00

MARITZBURG United coach Ernst Middendorp has lashed out at PSL fans who take their disappointment to the next level by invading pitches after matches and threatening coaches.

On Sunday, Mamelodi Sundowns supporters found their way onto the pitch at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto to vent their anger by throwing missiles at coach Johan Neeskens following a 2-0 loss to Moroka Swallows. Neeskens is now under severe pressure from the club’s supporters and has been the victim of harsh words on social media networks.

“It is something that really worries me,” Middendorp said of the unruly fan behaviour.

“Something needs to be done and those supporters should be banned from the stadiums for life,” he added.

Sundowns management have requested assistance from the PSL in keeping crowds in check and have indicated that they will be pressing criminal charges against those involved in Sunday’s incident.

Middendorp acknowledged that critique of a manager’s ability, while sometimes harsh, is something that accompanies football managers around the world.

“Being criticised by fans is something that happens, we have all been fired and it is part of the job,” the German coach said.

“But what is happening now is simply not acceptable and you cannot have physical attacks on managers.”

Middendorp was speaking a day after Ajax Cape Town had lost patience with coach Maarten Stekelenburg after a string of poor results.

Fortunately for Middendorp, things are not going too badly at United at the moment and a solid start to the season has ensured that fans of the club are enjoying their current occupation of sixth spot on the log.

But a 1-0 loss to Wits at home last Friday hurt, and Middendorp will look to get back to winning ways with a victory over newly promoted Chippa United in Cape Town tomorrow night.

With goalkeeper and club captain Shu-Aib Walters solely at fault for the Wits goal, Middendorp has called on his shot stopper to bounce back.

“I am not blaming anybody, but Shu-Aib will have to do better if he is to be seen as one of the best goalkeepers in the country. I hope that he has recovered from what happened,” said the coach.

But Walters wasn’t the only poor showing on Friday night.

United’s was a toothless performance that struggled to unlock a Wits side that had set up with five defenders.

But Middendorp is not one to dwell on the past, and he expressed the importance of tomorrow night’s match.

“We have to win [on Friday], by all costs,” said the coach. “Whatever we need to do we must do.”

With a small squad, Middendorp has injury worries to consider for the first time this season since a thigh strain to Byrone Hendricks saw him miss the season opener.

Attacking midfielder Mthokozisi Yende is recovering from a knock to the knee and an Achilles strain, Dutchman Orlando Smeekes is recovering from the flu and Mohamed Awal spent yesterday’s session testing the severity of a knock to the knee he picked up against Wits.

But no decision on any of the three players has been made for tomorrow and it is expected that all three will play some part in the match. The match at Athlone Stadium kicks off at 8 pm and will be televised on SuperSport Four.

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