There is a lot of soul-searching required at Naturena after Kaizer Chiefs reached a new low in the 2018/19 season.
The one mighty Amakhosi finished ninth on the league table for the third time in the PSL era, recording their lowest points tally in the process.
Some silverware would have perhaps sweetened what had been a sour campaign, but that was not to be as, after making it to the Nedbank Cup final, they landed up on the wrong side of history as their unfancied opponents TS Galaxy became the first lower division side to triumph in the competition.
This has further placed coach Ernst Middendorp under scrutiny, as the rescue mission he was brought into to do after a faltering first half of the season under Giovanni Solinas seems to have fallen flat on its face.
How Ernst Middendorp measures up to Giovanni Solinas
The German has been in charge of the club for a period similar in length to the Italian’s all-too-brief tenure.
Under Solinas, Chiefs managed just four wins in 14 league matches, collecting a paltry 18 points.
The former Free State Stars mentor also led Amakhosi to two cup semifinals – the shorter MTN8 yielding one victory, plus two in the Telkom Knockout.
This gave him an overall record of seven wins in 20 matches in all domestic competitions, while suffering six defeats.
This was enough for him and the club to cut ties, with Middendorp brought in just before the club’s last league game before the festive season break.
The German started on a positive note, bagging the big scalp of Supersport United on his way to winning three of his first four league matches, plus a victory of third tier outfit Tornado in the Nedbank Cup round of 32.
The fairytale period didn’t last as Chiefs could only manage a further two league victories, while continuing on a good run in cup competition.
In total, Middendorp has been in charge for 21 matches, winning nine and losing six.
In goal-scoring stakes, there’s very little to choose between the two as, under the German, 27 goals were scored with 19 conceded – the latter achieved despite some visibly shaky goalkeeping in the absence of the injured Itumeleng Khune.
Solinas’ tenure yielded just as many goals as Middendorp, but two more were let in.