Ea Lla Koto were the first PSL club to wield the axe following three losses in their opening three matches of the 2015/16 season, Kinnah Phiri making way for German tactician Middendorp to use his experience in the Free State.
And that he did, losing just once in the eight PSL games he was in charge, before opting to re-join former club Maritzburg United, who he helped escape relegation on the last day of the campaign.
Mokoena admits the season was turbulent because of the various coaching changes, but thanked Middendorp for stabilising the club before his resignation.
“Things were not going well at the start of the season, so rather than let the problem fester the club took decisive action and brought in a new coach, Ernst Middendorp – that was a strategic move and the club’s choice,” he is quoted as saying on his club’s official website.
“Then just when the situation had stabilised and things were looking up again, the coach resigned unexpectedly – the club had no control over that.
“Of course we were disappointed when Middendorp left, but that shouldn’t detract from his achievements here. His win ratio shows that he was a good appointment.”
The club then brought in little-known Italian Giovanni Solinas, who guided the side into the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup, as well as a 12th-place League finish before resigning as well.
“When making coaching changes you can only hope that the next man is the right fit for the club and the job at hand,” Mokoena continued.
“Giovanni came in and proved to be another very good appointment. We are satisfied with how the season panned out under his stewardship and also relieved because the margin for error when making coaching appointments is very small. Sometimes the wrong appointment can prove very costly.”
Mokoena then praised the players for their ability to adapt each time a new coach was handed the reins.
“Different coaches have different philosophies, but as professionals players will work with whoever is in charge,” he said.
“It is a great credit to the players that they knuckled down and went about their business as consummate professionals. I couldn’t be more proud of the crop of players we have at this club and their dedication to the cause.”
The club is yet to officially announce who will be the new man in charge ahead of the start of the 2016/17 season.