Middendorp signs for two years

2010-05-13 00:00

APART from crowning left-back Elias Ngwepe their deserved player of the year, Maritzburg United were also able to announce at their awards evening last night that coach Ernst Middendorp has re-signed for a further two years.

After protracted negotiations that have lasted for more than a month, Middendorp signed for United yesterday afternoon.

Ngwepe, who has hardly put a foot wrong in a highly committed and consistently excellent season in defence, was announced as the club’s best player of 2009 at the ceremony at Vacca Matta at Golden Horse Casino last night.

Midfielder Musa Nyatama was United’s most promising player and Chilis Madondo the best young player.

For ex-Bloemfontein Celtic and Mamelodi Sundowns player Ngwepe, this is his first club player of the season award in a distinguished career.

“I don’t feel I cheated — I worked hard and deserved the award,” he said. “You need to be serious, and if you’re not you slip up. I say to these boys who are 19, ‘you tell me you are tired after one training session, but I am 32 and running faster than you and not tired’.

“Next season I have to give 120% to maintain my standard.”

United chairperson Farouk Kadodia said the club are pleased to keep a coach of ex-Arminia Bielefeld and Kaizer Chiefs boss Middendorp’s quality.

“We are very aware that we cannot keep changing coaches and that we need to start having some stability and building a team,” said the chairperson.

“At the beginning of the past season we introduced a lot of young talent to the team and we now want to bring in a few new players that the coach said he needs.

“We want to develop a team that can eventually win silverware. We’re not putting pressure for next season, it’s part of a building process.

“We’ve made sure that if we do win trophies or finish high in the league there will be good bonuses for the coach.

“I keenly believe the coach has a good core of young, committed, exciting players who will support him.

“There has been a lot of pressure on me personally because I have had a lot of calls asking if we are keeping the coach. I felt I had a responsibility because if I failed to keep Ernst I would have failed a lot of people.”

Middendorp said for United, who finished 11th last season following the coach taking over a last-placed team in November, a few promising performances is not enough, and the team have to be hungry to aim higher. The coach said he hopes to have an influence on United improving their structures.

“It’s a situation where we are at a beginning here. The next step is we have to get the results. It’s about looking at the situation we have, and the facilities and the infrastructure.

“And maybe I can give my advice on the way forward and put my finger in to see where we can improve the club.

“I think that is the job of the head coach these days at all clubs. It’s not just about training the team, but also identifying the areas we need to improve in order to succeed.”

United have released or put on transfer seven players – Collen Zimba, Lynch Pule, Beka Phakathi, Vito Badiane, Brice Aka, James Madidilani and Noah Chivutah.

The club are hopeful of signing two of their on-loan players, midfielder Kurt Lentjies from Mamelodi Sundowns and goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters from Bloemfontein Celtic.

UNITED AWARDS:

Top scorer: Fadlu Davids

Goal of the season: Rudolf Bester (vs Chiefs, Orlando Stadium)

Most promising player: Musa Nyatama

Young player of the year: Kulegani “Chilis” Madondo

Player of the year: Elias Ngwepe

Long service award: Zola Luthuli (kit manager)

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