KZN-based sides urged to shape up

2010-06-17 00:00

MARITZBURG United coach Ernst Middendorp has issued a stern warning to the teams of Greece, Cameroon, Algeria, Nigeria and Paraguay — all based in KwaZulu-Natal for the duration of the World Cup — that unless they pull up their socks, they might not qualify for the next round.

Middendorp was once voted the coach of the century by the Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld and is credited with giving Bafana Bafana players like Sbusiso Zuma and Rowen Fernandez international exposure with German team Arminia Bielefeld.

Speaking to The Witness, the German-born coach said, “It is inspiring to the young soccer players to have in our base camps Cameroon, Nigeria, Greece, Algeria and Paraguay national teams.

“However, these teams have not had a great start in their opening games, with all losing except for team Paraguay, which managed a draw with the defending champions Italy.”

He added, “I have always said to my players that the big-name players are coming to our shores and we should take advantage and go and see them training in their respective practice venues because we have the opportunity to see them live.”

The 48-year-old mentor said that if these teams do well in their qualifying stages, then the province is going to get a lot of international exposure that will be good for youngsters who want to shine in football.

Considered an authority on South African football, Ernst Middendorp spent almost two years at the helm of 11-time national champions Kaizer Chiefs.

He returned to Germany last March to help Arminia Bielefeld stave off relegation in his third spell in charge of the Bundesliga outfit.

He also has fond memories of his time in Ghana, where between 1999 and 2004 he coached Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club.






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