Former Kaizer Chiefs and Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp has hit out at Tanzania’s finance minister, who owns Singida Fountain Gate, saying his club ‘can keep their money’.
Middendorp packed his bags and left Dar es Salaam for Johannesburg just two weeks after arriving at the club.
“Around lunchtime, I packed my bags and organised my flight with Airlink and straightaway to Jo’burg…. You cannot work under these circumstances…..,” Middendorp said.
But before he left the team hotel, the German settled ‘his’ bill, which the club would have ordinarily covered.
Instead of waiting for his return ticket from the club as agreed on his contract, he booked his business class ticket and quietly jetted out of the East African country.
This was just a few hours after the club’s owner, Mwigulu Nchemba, Tanzania’s finance minister, called a meeting to discuss Sunday’s narrow 1-0 win against Future FC of Egypt.
The two teams met in the second preliminary round, first leg clash of the Caf Confederation Cup.
“The authorities of Singida Fountain Gate scheduled an urgent meeting for the next day with the entire Technical Team without explaining the purpose of the meeting. We expected that there would be words of praise.
“However, that was in no way the case. The intention of the meeting became clear. It was all about expressing dissatisfaction. My point of view was not requested. A discussion was not desired…”
Nchemba’s bone of contention was that Middendorp had omitted certain players and played three out of position.
The former Moroka Swallows mentor said in his 30 years as a coach, he had only experienced such interference under Max Tshabalala at Bloemfontein Celtic in 2014.
While Middendorp decided against sending a resignation letter, he sent a stern message to the club.
“It was an unbelievable statement by the minister of finance, who is the boss of Singida Fountain Gate.
“I’m in a comfortable situation. I’m confident I’m qualified. I know what I’m doing. It’s not about the money.
“I don’t need to ask for it at this moment. That’s probably my advantage; they should keep it and look for a certain direction.”
He is on record saying he can afford to stay out of a job for 50 years without begging any club owner.
Middendorp further distanced himself from the Cape Town Spurs and Cape Town City jobs.
Both clubs have started the season poorly, sparking speculation that they could replace the coaches.
Middendorp praised City’s Tinkler, saying this was not the first time he started a season badly. He believes Tinkler will turn things around and finish strong.
He said Shaun Bartlett, who lost his sixth successive match of the season, was “on the right track.”