Rhulani Mokwena susses out Ernst Middendorp ahead of Soweto Derby


Pirates are set to face Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinal at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday (15h00) in what will be Mokwena’s first Derby as a head coach.

Middendorp had earlier declined to give his assessment of the Buccaneers’ mentor as he instead issued a word of advice, but the 32-year-old tactician was happy to share some of his insight into the German’s approach expected in their do-or-die clash.

“Ja, top coach. Very, very strong personality, of course, and I think that’s why you get a lot of coaches responding to him the way they do,” said Mokwena.

“A good tactician – his teams are always posing a lot of technical and tactical scenarios throughout 90 minutes; but I think he’s a coach that’s very clued up in the way he wants his team to play.

“If you look at how his teams have always played, be it Maritzburg [United], Free State [Stars], Golden Arrows, even Chiefs of the past and the current one – there’s a lot of similarities with regards to his game methodology.

“So, ja, he’s a good coach and one that we respect a lot, and one that I think has done well for the team.

“He came in last season and although he didn’t finish in the top eight, he was clear in what needed to be done with regards to improving the team.

“And it is by no surprise that they are doing as well as they are, because they’ve got a clear structure of play; they’re doing well with their build-ups.

“Katsande is very important for them; Mathoho and Cardoso are doing a lot better with regards to first station passes and how they deal with receiving balls from whether it’s Khune or Akpeyi.

“So, that’s one of the things [we picked up] yeah, the triangle in the first phase of their build-up is clear, and that’s always down to the coach.”