Can Middendorp deliver the league title?


The German took over at Chiefs in 2005/06 after Ted Dumitru had won back-to-back league titles with the club. Chiefs finished in third place behind title winners Mamelodi Sundowns and second-placed Orlando Pirates that season. 

Chiefs finished seven points behind Sundowns and were let down mostly by the 14 draws registered during that campaign. Had some of those draws been turned into victories, Chiefs would have probably won the title. 

At the time Middendorp arrived, the striker who had scored a record 35 goals the previous season, Collins Mbesuma, had just left for Portsmouth in the English Premier League. So in an effort to replace the big Zambian forward, Amakhosi signed Serge Djiehoua and Louis Agyemang from Ivory Coast and Ghana respectively. 

The campaign started with a hard fought 1-0 victory away to Bush Bucks, thanks to a goal from Zambian forward Shongwa Chalwe, but it did not turn out to be as successful as they were under Dumitru. 

Middendorp’s side drew matches at home against Ajax Cape Town, Black Leopards, Santos, Tembisa Classic, Jomo Cosmos, Moroka Swallows, Bush Bucks, while they were beaten by Silver Stars and SuperSport United in their backyard. 

Away from home, they drew matches against Free State Stars, Cosmos, Moroka Swallows and Leopards after taking the lead, while they had to come from behind to secure a point in other matches.

Middendorp was fired in March 2007 in his second season with Amakhosi, who finished outside the top eight, finishing in nine place on 42 points, 19 behind league winners Sundowns. 

Middendorp won the Absa Cup and SAA Supa8 during his time at the club, but was unable to prove himself in the biggest of them all – the league. So as he prepares to start working in his second stint with Amakhosi, can he deliver the Absa Premiership title? Chances are he won’t, but only time will tell.