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Middendorp under pressure to secure Nedbank Cup title


Chiefs haven’t won a cup in four years and the Nedbank Cup is the only competition they have a fair chance of winning this season

Ernst Middendorp, coach of Kaizer Chiefs with Bobby Motaung during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 Kaizer Chiefs Press Conference at the Chiefs Village, Johannesburg on 10 December 2018. Picture: ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp is facing a baptism of fire in the Nedbank Cup with his side pitted against high-flying Cape Town City in the quarter-finals of South Africa’s version of the FA Cup.

The two sides will lock horns at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit next Sunday in what promises to be a mouthwatering clash.

The German coach is one of two “foreign” coaches remaining in the Nedbank Cup which has been dominated by outsiders for the past three seasons. Middendorp is not only up against Benni McCarthy on the local front but also Dan Malesela (TS Galaxy), Dominic Isaacs (Cape Umoya United), Gavin Hunt (Bidvest Wits), Clinton Larsen (Chippa United), and Steve Komphela (Lamontville Golden Arrows).

Lehlohonolo Seema, the Lesotho international who is the carertaker coach at Phunya Sele Sele, is the other non-South African coach still in the Cup and he and Middendorp will be out to continue the foreign dominance while the likes of Komphela, Hunt, Larsen, Isaacs, Malesela and McCarthy will be eager to end the barren run for local coaches.

Chiefs haven’t won a cup in four years and the Nedbank Cup is the only competition they have a fair chance of winning this season, having missed out on the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout while their fate is not in their own hands in the league. They are still in the title race but will need a lot of things to go their way if they are to reign supreme.

Middendorp (pictured) actually hasn’t won a cup for more than 10 years in his coaching career in South Africa. The last time he delivered any silverware was way back in 2006 and he is desperate to end that poor record. But the fact that the Nedbank Cup has been dominated by non-SA coaches in the past three editions should encourage him.

Luc Eymael coached Free State Stars to victory last season after they beat Maritzburg United 1-0 at Cape Town Stadium. And the incumbent Bafana coach, Stuart Baxter, was at the helm of SuperSport United in their back-to-back successes in 2016 and 2017.

So Middendorp will look to make it fourth time lucky for the foreign coaches. And with the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates already out of the running he has reason to be oozing with confidence.

Multiple title-winning coach Hunt is a serious threat though, having won trophies with the likes of Moroka Swallows, SuperSport United and now Wits.

Hunt will welcome Larsen’s Chippa United to Bidvest Stadium on Saturday in the quarter-finals while Komphela will travel to his former club Bloemfontein Celtic in an early kick-off at Dr Molemela Stadium.

Two National First Division sides, Cape Umoya United and TS Galaxy, square off against each other on Wednesday.