Ernst Middendorp admits Kaizer Chiefs' FNB Stadium struggles


Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has discussed the lack of support when playing at their traditional home ground FNB Stadium.

Chiefs have endured dwindling numbers at their home games in Johannesburg this season, with their most recent fixture – a 1-1 draw against Golden Arrows – at the World Cup final venue having seen a further decline on Tuesday evening.

Many have tried to pin this down to the poor performances of the team, given their Absa Premiership challenge having collapsed some weeks ago.

But, contrastingly, Amakhosi have played in front of sold out stadiums away to SuperSport United at Mbombela, Black Leopards at Thohoyandou as well as Chippa United at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – all within the last five weeks.

It is, however, fact that Chiefs have managed just three wins in 11 league games played at FNB Stadium this season, and Middendorp therefore believes the club is in need of a culture change.

“We discuss it behind closed doors, I think it’s not new – Steve [Komphela] probably had the same experience before,” said Middendorp after the match.

“We have to put another home culture into it, and I’m talking about probably not training only once before you go into games, we have to train two or three times more to get comfortable with it.

“This ground is very firm, it’s totally different to training every day at Naturena, and we know this, we discuss it.

“This is a disaster that the home points we’re giving away and not really having this dynamic [of having home advantage].

“I see this, and everybody is realising, it doesn’t matter whether we play in Durban, PE, Nelspruit, there is another vibe. I don’t know, we have to do something in this direction.

“The field is fantastic, there’s no doubt about it; the environment is first class, it’s not to complain about at all; but in terms of feeling at home, comfortable…

“If you buy a chesterfield couch, you want to sit on it and to enjoy it, knowing that this cost – I don’t know, R50 000? Whatever – but you have to sit on it to feel comfortable and relaxed on why you’re buying something like this. This is the same here with the stadium, definitely.”

As a result, Chiefs have moved their final home match of the season to Nelspruit, where they will host Free State Stars next week Saturday.

Let the breaking news come to you! Sign up for KICK OFF SMS