Part 2: Middendorp’s anti-football approach


The ABSA Premiership season dust has not yet settled and already fans and supporters of Kaizer Chiefs are licking their wounds on what may have been.

Having been at the summit of the league for over 13 months, is it justifiable for Amakhosi faithfuls to be aggrieved at the team’s performance and the tactical approach of Coach Ernst Middendorp?

FARPost Technical Study (TSG) will look at Middendorp’s anti Chiefs approach that led to team to surrender the league title to Mamelodi Sundowns.

1. Chiefs DNA

Amakhosi forefathers and honorary players who donned the Gold and Black of the Club since 1970, laid a clear blueprint on how the team should play.

The likes of Teenage Dladla, Ace Ntsoelengoe, Jan Lechaba, Doctor Khumalo, Ace Khuse and Chippa Molatedi, just to highlight a few, delivered a perfect football recipe to be followed.

Chiefs of yesteryear displayed technical arrogance, fluid movement, charismatic technical-tactical understanding and an unrelenting manner to harsh playing circumstances. The legends played with swag, complete dominance and dominated matches home and away, while bringing multitudes of supporters to the stadiums.

2. Chiefs of the 70’s

The founding fathers of the team (1970’s) created the actual playing blueprint for generations to come. Stars like Kaizer Motaung, Joseph Setlhodi, Screamer Tshabalala and Zacharia Lamola, displayed technical mastery on the ball that capitulated all supporters to flock to the stadiums in massive numbers.

This team dazzled the crowds with supreme skills and mental fortitude of the highest order.

Off the field, the club fashion approach and swag, forced all to call them the ‘Phefeni Glamour Boys’

3. Chiefs of the 80’s

The remarkable generation of the 1980’s embraced the club success mantle by playing with ambition and passion.

Irrespective of the opposition and the match day setting (location and venue), this team played with extra motivation, solid tactical application and sheer class.

This team of Doctor Khumalo, Ace Khuse, Wellington Manyathi, Gardener Seale and Shane MacGregor, managed to excite the Mzansi public and football enthusiasts by winning trophies combined with good football.

4. Chiefs of the 2000’s

The class of the 2000’s created their own history. Siphiwe Tshabalala, Jimmy Tau, Jabu Mahlangu and Itumeleng Khune, just to list a few from that glorious group, cemented the club’s winning tradition.

Khune protected the goals with his life, and replicated the goalkeeping prowess of Botende Eshele, Brian Baloyi and Setlhodi. In attack Tshabalala and company relived the heights set by Jabu Mahlangu and his counterparts.

5. Middendorp’s anti-Chiefs approach

The German mentor entered the Naturena gates for his second stint, after the sacking of Italian, Giovani Solinas. After a disastrous Nedbank Cup final loss to GladAfrica side, TS Galaxy, the Chiefs hierarchy opted to support him in the 2019/2020 season. Little did they know that Middendorp will destroy everything the forebears had built.

Chiefs under the German played stereotype football of long balls, diagonal deliveries, set-piece reliance and predictable approach.

Influential and creative players were sabotaged and reduced to benchwarmers. Talented players like Khama Billiat and Kearyn Baccus were brutally dislocated from their normal game and given less attention.

His tactics could not match the royal approach of the Chiefs DNA, instead foreign and mixed tactical system was a disastrous recipe from the coach

6. Conclusion

As the season begins, it will be advisable for the hierarchy at Chiefs to take the players for counseling and emotional trauma, as they fix the rot created by Middendorp.

RELATED STORY: Part 1: Chiefs defensive frailties under Middendorp

By FARPost Technical Study Group 

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