Why Ernst Middendorp is back in the DStv Premiership yet again

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Ernst Middendorp is back in the PSL to take charge of his seventh club in South Africa
Ernst Middendorp is back in the PSL to take charge of his seventh club in South Africa

The decision by Swallows FC to bring on board Ernst Middendorp as their new coach has pushed up the German to several new heights in domestic football.

As disclosed by the club, Middendorp has agreed to a three-year deal and takes over from his former player Musa Nyatama with The Birds sitting next to the drop zone.

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At 64, Middendorp now becomes the oldest coach in the DStv Premiership – a league whose youngest coach is Romain Folz (32). 

The veteran coach has also been in charge of the most games in domestic football of all foreign coaches that have ever coached in this league.

He is just four games shy of the 400 games mark in charge of a South African topflight league club.

"Coach Middendorp comes with a wealth of experience, and we believe he will be the right person to guide the club in the right direction," noted Swallows in their appointment statement. 

Middendorp has only ever won two trophies in South Africa – the 2006 ABSA Cup and SAA Supa8 of the same year.

Of all the coaches in the PSL now only Khabo Zondo and Gavin Hunt ran the rule in this league before Middendorp.

Zondo was the coach of Tembisa Classic as far back as 2001 but has had an on-and-off relationship with coaching in this league such that the number of games that he has overseen are easily dwarfed by Middendorp.

Hunt is the longest serving in the PSL having coached Seven Stars and Hellenic before the turn of the new millennium.

Middendorp has now been with seven clubs in the PSL, which is the second most behind Hunt of all coaches currently in PSL jobs.

The German has however had the most appointments having been to Kaizer Chiefs twice, four spells with Maritzburg United, and then once at Golden Arrows, Bloemfontein Celtic, Chippa United, and Free State Stars.

Though he now holds South African permanent residence he is one of four Europeans coaching in the league now along with Jose Riveiro, Romain Folz, and Sead Ramovic.

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