Ernst Middendorp (born October 28, 1958 in Freren) is a German football manager who is currently coach of the Premier Soccer League club table toppers, Kaizer Chiefs Football Club. Middendorp aims to end Kaizer Chiefs trophy drought this season after the club last tasted success with a league and cup double during the 2014/15 season.
Middendorp’s Chiefs are currently on a good run as they top the Absa Premier League standings by 10 points from title rivals Mamelodi Sundowns and are in the Telkom Knockout semi-final where they faces one of Ernst’s former club Maritzburg United at Mbombela Stadium on the 24th of November 2019.
Middendorp has recently triggered a war of words (mind games) with Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane who strongly and firmly believes that local coaches (local is lekker) are much better that foreign coaches who are just after rich pickings on offer in South African football.
- Middendorp has coached professional football on the highest level for nearly 20 years in Europe, Asia and Africa, having a UEFA Pro License (Fussball-Lehrer) from the German Football Association.
- Middendorp has a degree in economics, politics, and history from the University of Bielefeld, Germany. He also attained a degree in special economics and computer studies from Computer College Rheine, Germany.
- Middendorp started his professional coaching career in August 1994 taking over as the head coach of DSC Arminia Bielefeld in the 3rd Bundesliga. During his tenure, the club was promoted to the Bundesliga in 1996. In 2005, when Arminia Bielefeld was celebrating its 100th anniversary, Middendorp was elected their “Coach of the Century”.
- In the 2015/2016 season Ernst led not one but two South African Premier League teams from the relegation position to safety. He took Free State Stars from position 16 at the bottom of the log to position 10 within four months, averaging two points a game. In January 2016 Ernst returned to Maritzburg United (a club he coached twice before) who were then in position 16 and facing the stark danger of relegating. Ernst and his team narrowed the gap until the final nail-biting game of the season when Maritzburg United moved to the safety of position 14
- Midderndorp has won two major trophies with Kaizer Chiefs – the 2006 Absa Cup (now called the Telkom Knockout) and the 2006 SAA Supa8. He was the coach when Kaizer Chiefs beat Manchester United in the final to win the 2006 Vodacom Challenge.
- When at Kaizer Chiefs previously, he coached Shaun Bartlett, who is now his assistant, and Arthur Zwane, who is in charge of the reserve side.
- After leaving Chiefs, he was appointed coach of Germany’s Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld in March 2007, saving the club from relegation. They were in position 18 when Middendorp took over and ended the season in 12th
- When Middendorp went to Arminia Bielefeld for the 2007/2008 season he took Glamour Boys, Rowen Fernandez and Siyabonga Nkosi, together with him .
- He discovered Dumisani Zuma and brought him to the PSL while still at the helm at Bloemfontein Celtic.
- In South Africa, Middendorp has coached Maritzburg United, Golden Arrows, Chippa United, Free State Stars and current club Kaizer Chiefs.
By Gerald Dandah