CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – DECEMBER 31: Head Coach, Ernst Middendorp of Cape Town Spurs during the DStv Premiership match between Cape Town Spurs and Cape Town City FC at DHL Cape Town Stadium on December 31, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
The Premiership, a stage for footballing dreams, witnessed a rare spectacle when Royal AM chairman Andile Mpisane, a 22-year-old fitness enthusiast, graced the pitch for 45 minutes, a full half.
Cue the outrage from Cape Town Spurs’ boss Ernst Middendorp at the forefront, speaking to the media in South Africa.
“It’s embarrassing for coaching what I have seen, AmaZulu playing against Royal AM, it’s embarrassing. I think we can expect Bobby (Motaung) in the game because he deserved it. He is so fit! He can even play for Kaizer Chiefs for 45 minutes,” Middendorp told journalists in a press briefing.
READ: Optimistic Johnson Hopeful Of Chiefs Stay
Beneath Middendorp’s sarcasm lies a deeper concern for the integrity of the game in the PSL.
“Guys, I feel really embarrassed myself as a coach and then you sit there and say because he was so good in a training session, he deserves to play.”
This, for Middendorp, isn’t just about one chairman playing in a match. He believes it’s a symptom of a larger problem with football in the country.
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“We have a portfolio of challenges, we have problems here but what’s going on in the league it’s roller-coaster of a comic,” the outspoken coach further lamented.
Mpisane’s controversial appearance played out against the backdrop of financial struggles of certain South African clubs, and recent FIFA transfer bans, painting a disappointing picture of the league this season. Middendorp’s criticism is about misplaced priorities, a demand for respect for the sport, and a reminder of the seriousness of professional football in the Premiership.
On the other hand, Royal AM may believe Mpisane deserved to have a run out in the game, and it remains to be seen if other PSL coaches share the same sentiment of the German mentor.
Royal AM coach John Maduka pointed out that while it was the chairman’s first appearance, they had previously looked at giving him opportunity to take the field.
Just a few days ago, Middendorp was involved in an argument with what appeared to be a fan at the Cape Town Stadium. Cape Town Spurs lost 2-0 to neighbours Cape Town City in that game on Sunday. The video was published on social media by a fan.
The pressure is mounting on the former Chiefs coach, with Spurs still rock bottom of the table.
— Umjaka ?? #DlalaMdlali (@umjaka) December 31, 2023READ: Pitso Back In The Land Of Pharaohs? Killer Weighs In
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