Can Middendorp preserve his derby record?

Ernst Middendorp   Picture: Dirk Kotze / Gallo Images
Ernst Middendorp Picture: Dirk Kotze / Gallo Images

Saturday’s game will be the eighth time that Ernst Middendorp has faced Orlando Pirates as Kaizer Chiefs’ coach.

And the 61-year-old is yet to lose in an official Soweto derby across all competitions. Out of four official encounters against Pirates while at the helm of Amakhosi from 2005 to 2007, Middendorp left with a record of three wins and a draw.

He experienced his first Soweto derby in December 2006 during his first spell with Chiefs, which ran from July 2005 to March 2007.

The game ended 1-1 when his current assistant, Shaun Bartlett, rescued a point for Chiefs.

Middendorp’s second stint at the helm of Amakhosi, which began in December 2018, has yielded two wins and a draw over Bucs.

His second coming arrested Bucs’ dominance over Chiefs. Before Middendorp’s arrival last season, Amakhosi’s last win over Pirates was back in 2014. He has already beaten Bucs twice this season - in the league and the Telkom Knockout.

Although he would want to put one over his countryman Josef Zinnbauer, Middendorp knows it is more than that. He will also want to be the first coach to inflict defeat on the Bucs’ new coach in the league.

Under Zinnbauer, Pirates have gone eight games without defeat, with seven wins and a draw. Middendorp hopes to deliver the silverware to Amakhosi for the first time in five seasons.

With a game in hand and a gap between the two rivals now reduced to six points, a win over his rival could effectively rule Pirates out of the race.

But a victory for Pirates will make them serious contenders as they will narrow the gap to three points.

After losing their previous league game against Maritzburg United, Middendorp will be eager to bounce back at the expense of his archrivals and extend his record.

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