Chiefs still have pulling power – Ernst

Nedbank Cup

Chiefs have in recent years appeared to punch below their weight when it comes to attracting big-name players, prior to the arrival of the likes of Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro.

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Amid their ongoing trophy drought, questions have been raised as to whether Amakhosi have fallen down the PSL pecking order in this regard.

Asked whether he has noticed a difference since his first spell at Chiefs in the mid-2000s, Middendorp has conceded that The Glamour Boys certainly share more of the market given the rise of Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United in terms of financial muscle.

However, the German insists the Chiefs brand and reputation remains a selling point to rising stars.

“My first time with Kaizer Chiefs was in 2005-2007 – to think about it actually, is there a big difference? I don’t know. I think the brand Kaizer Chiefs has definitely grown and gotten an even bigger reputation than back then,” said Middendorp.

“I think it’s still attractive to work for Kaizer Chiefs as a coach, technical team member and definitely as a player, there’s no doubt about it.

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“What happened, probably, is that two or three teams at that time were in competition in terms of financial power and reputation, but now teams like Bidvest [Wits] have been champions recently and playing internationally, while having something to offer in terms of facilities and ambition.

“We don’t have to only talk about Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, I think they were there already at that time, [but] SuperSport United is pushing and other teams are also coming into the league and [edging higher up] into the top eight, where we are in the moment.

“The competition of looking for players and convincing them to come in to [a club like Chiefs] is bigger – no doubt about it, and it’s good, but I’m still confident that if a player in the market is attracting interest not only from Chiefs then we still have a good chance of convincing him to come.”

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