Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual, group or organization to “lead”, influence or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations.
The definition should have been engraved on the contract signed by Ernst Middendorp, when signing for Amakhosi.
Instead this alien mentor went against all what the team stand for and embraced over the 50 year existence of the Chiefs institution.
In our last (Part 3) of the FARPost Investigative Unit, we will focus on the leadership mess created by Middendorp at the club.
1. Senior players disrespect
Middendorp failed to acknowledge the presence and the important role played by the senior brigade within the club.
He intentionally created pockets of discontent amongst the group and literally treated senior players with utter disdain.
Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Khama Billiat and Itumeleng Khune, were treated as the outcasts, and this led to lack of tactical-technical cohesion expected on the field.
2. Ntshangase frozen
Siphelele Ntshangase joined Chiefs on the back of a promising career and good performances from Black Leopards and Baroka FC.
Under Middendorp, the majestic and stylish midfielder endured a nightmarish spell. Besides being sidelined openly, Middendorp persecuted the player in the media.
To confirm the coach’s stinking leadership style, the midfielder only featured for 45 minutes in the PSL Bio-Bubble.
3. Goalkeeping department
To his credit Daniel Akpeyi played exceptionally well and together with Samir Nurkovic, drove the Chiefs title. Akpeyi was a monster between the sticks, whilst Nurkovic was a beast in attack.
But it was Middendorp’s open animosity with Khune that captured the attention of all. The coach criticized the goal-minder and never supported him throughout the campaign.
Like Ntshangase, Khune joined the title chase in the bubble, where his form was erratic and less polished.
4. Rift with journalists
Due to his stubbornness and out of character behaviour, Middendorp fought with the journalists. He accused the media of sabotage and never had a solid relationship with certain media personalities.
His ability to deal with the pressure associated with managing the biggest brand in football was diabolical, and thus played in the hands of the ever robust and alert journalists.
5. Tactical madness
None of the 2019/2020 season players were sure exactly where they played. Bernard Parker suddenly became a multifunctional and dynamic player, expected to play multiple positions.
Reeve Frosler jumped from right back, left wingback and central attacking midfielder. This happened whilst many players like Ntshangase and Kearyn Baccus were either on the stands or benched.
Middendorp will do well to conceptualize what Jago (1982) echoed when he said ‘Good leaders are made, not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience’.
RELATED STORY: Part 2: Middendorp’s anti-football approach
By FARPost Technical Study Group