Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has pointed out the change of recruitment policy as the reason for the biggest turn around by the Glamour Boys this season.
For the longest time, Chiefs’ football manager Bobby Motaung endured insults from the fans for signing below par players who failed to prove their worth. Amakhosi haven’t won a cup in almost five years.
For the first time in many years, they have bypassed Zimbabwe, their well-known hunting ground, and went as far as Europe in a quest to sign quality players.
At the beggining of the season, Chiefs unveiled Samir Nurkovic (Serbia), James Kotei (Ghana), Lazarous Kambole (Zambia), Kearyn Baccus (Australia) and later Yagan Sasman.
Nurkovic and Baccus have since proved to be instant hits for Middendorp’s side that’s sitting comfortably at the summit of Absa Premiership log halfway the season.
“If you go as a club, managing a club in a soccer industry and you come always and you have to listen to it and that is how we have done it the last ten years, that is how we have done it always. If you really follow this and then doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results, sorry you are not on the right track,” said Middendorp, who was named the Absa Premiership Coach of the Month for November.
“And of course recruiting, what happened here in the beginning of the season, really identifying…If you have been with the team for six months or so and have seen how players struggled. Probably not from talent, from the natural quality they have but probably fulfill the expectations of a big club like Kaizer Chiefs challenging for everything, performing to bring success and how players struggled to be comfortable in this environment and you put a parameter.”
The German mentor has also promoted more players from the Multichoice Diski Challenge side to give competition to the tried and tested. The likes of Njabulo Blom, Happy Mashiane and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo have tasted Premiership action from last season.
But Middendorp still insisted that age was a factor when they recruited from outside.
“A very clear parameter.Younger than 25, 24 basically should not come in to it, probably they would struggle to handle this pressure currently. That was the majority of the players. We brought in Yagan Sasman who was 23 at the time. The rest are older than 25.
“Another parameter is intensionally bringing in players not only from South Amarica, not only from out of African countries. Combine. Bring somebody from Europe, bring somebody from South America, and other countries in. Everybody has a strong part, everybody has a weakness but pairing it up, combining it, that will give you a strong identification,” he said.
By Innocent Ngwenya