Johannesburg – Chippa United’s new coach Ernst Middendorp says his boys will emerge like a breath of fresh air for the second half of the Premiership league when it resumes next month.
Having recently taken over from Roger Sikhakhane to become the Chilli Boys 12th coach in a space of three years, the former Bloemfontein Celtic mentor said his players had shown enough hunger, dedication and grit to finish inside the top eight.
“I would be lying if I said there is no talent here,” Middendorp said on Thursday.
“The previous coach has done a fantastic job and the spirit within the camp has been awesome. The mid-season programme is going according to plan and the boys are competing which is good news.”
The Port Elizabeth-based outfit take on German giants VfL Wolfsburg at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday as part of their mid-season training camp.
After the visitors walloped Ajax Cape Town 4-1 in a one-sided match on Wednesday, Middendorp said he would field a full-strength squad against the Bundesliga team.
“I watched the game and I must say that Wolfsburg is a well-organised side. Their composure under pressure and ability to hit opponents with clever counterattack football was amazing,” Middendorp said.
“I am hopeful we are able to match them. I have already told my players what to expect and I hope, come match day, we are able to deliver”.
Middendorp said he expected to sign at least two new players to fortify his squad.
“I have assessed the players at my disposal and a striker and a central defender to ensure we are covered in those positions.
“I am confident by the time the second round of the league gets underway those players could have joined us.”
Striker Edward Manqele was shaping up nicely and Middendorp said he was happy with the attitude of the former Mamelodi Sundowns striker.
“I don’t like to single out players but Manqele has improved his fitness level. He is dedicated and wants to do well.
“As a coach it is my job to assist him. All my players are aware that they must fight for positions and whoever impresses the technical team most will surely be considered.”
Middendorp, who was on a six month contract had been mandated, by trigger-happy boss Siviwe Mpengesi, to ensure a top-eight finish in the league.
“I am not bothered about the fact that my chairman is known for firing coaches. I know why I took the job and this is an exciting project for me.”