Middendorp hits the ground running at new club

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New Swallows head coach Ernst Middendorp
New Swallows head coach Ernst Middendorp
Shaun Roy

New Swallows head coach Ernst Middendorp has not wasted any time in marshalling his troops as the Dube Birds prepare for the second half of the season.

The German mentor, who was unveiled as the club’s new head coach on Thursday, took charge of Swallows’ training session on Monday as the side braces for what could be another relegation battle.

With three wins from 12 outings and only 13 points collected towards the midway stage of the DStv Premiership, Swallows find themselves just two points above bottom-of-the-table Maritzburg United.

READ Xulu explains the reasoning behind Middendorp's appointment

Middendorp will know he has a mountain to climb with a side that’s been embroiled in controversy over players’ unpaid salaries, the German will also have to work with what he has at the moment as Swallows are banned from registering any new players by FIFA, following failure to pay Serbian duo Vladmier Mandic and Obren Cuckovic.

Consequently, the Dube Birds have also missed out on several players who would have added some steel to the side.

Former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi trained with Swallows for some time but was unable to complete his transfer to Swallows due to the ban.

Another player who slipped from Swallows’ fingers in former Mamelodi Sundowns forward Promise Mkhuma. The 22-year-old signed with Swallows at the start of the season but was also barred from playing due to the ban.

Mkhuma will likely secure move elsewhere in the January window as clubs look to reinforce their squad for the second half of the season. Meanwhile, Middendorp and co will have their first chance to climb up the DStv Premiership table when they meet Richards Bay on New Year’s Eve.

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