Middendorp, Palmer among United’s candidates

2009-11-12 00:00

MARITZBURG United have been in contact with former Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp as an early candidate to fill their vacant coaching post but are not considering pricey Brazilian Julio Cesar Leal, while former United coach Ian Palmer is also among the candidates.

Orlando Pirates assistant coach and former Ajax Cape Town boss Craig Rosslee is not available as the Buccaneers raised a “hands off” sign when United expressed an interest in him.

United’s search for a coach follows their parting of ways with Gordon Igesund on Monday.

Rosslee guided Ajax to second place and the Telkom Knockout trophy in his first season coaching a PSL team in 2008, but met with less success the following season and was fired.

“Craig Rosslee would have been our number one target but Pirates have made it clear they have issues of their own to deal with at the moment and he is central to their plans,” Kadodia said.

The United chairman said Middendorp, voted German club Arminia Bielefeld’s coach of the century in 2005 and who has been coaching in Cyprus and China recently, has expressed an interest in the United job.

The German had mixed success with Chiefs between 2005 and 2007, winning the Absa Cup and SAA Supa 8 before being fired after a run of poor form.

Palmer on Monday quit his job with First Division team African Warriors and his agent has contacted United. Yesterday the coach, who guided United from the NFD back to the Premier Soccer League in 2008, also spoke to Kadodia expressing his interest.

Palmer would be a popular choice among the United fans and the players who remain from his 2008 squad, from whom he commanded tremendous respect.

The former Pirates striker is one of the country’s most under-rated coaches and many felt United made a big mistake by not allowing him to continue coaching the team he had promoted, a point that might seem to have been proven by Igesund’s departure this week.

However, the controversial circumstances with which Palmer was replaced by Igesund have left some bad blood between the coach and United’s management that could stand in his way.

Leal, who coached Moroka Swallows last season, saved AmaZulu from relegation in 2007 but was not rehired by the club because of his steep asking price, which has also put off United.

Kadodia said former Bloemfontein Celtic and Bay United coach Khabo Zondo has also contacted United, while the club is still searching for other quality candidates to fill Igesund’s shoes.

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