Ernst Middendorp says his rivalry with Pitso Mosimane was more than what people thought, comparing it to “war”.
Middendorp, who locked horns with Mosimane many times on the sidelines, in particular during his time at Kaizer Chiefs, told iDiski Times in an exclusive interview that there was no need for him to be friends with the former Mamelodi Sundowns, but they already respected each other.
These two formed one of the tasty rivalries during the 2019/20 season, with Mosimane rubbing to Middendorp that he was on holiday in Thailand where he was the technical director of Bangkok City before he took the Chiefs job in November 2018.
Mosimane, as his Sundowns side were involved in the CAF Champions League then, said Chiefs were resting and also benefiting from bad calls from referees.
This all happened before these two sides met in the first round of the league match at Loftus Stadium in October 2019.
However, Chiefs won 2-0, with Samir Nurkovic scoring twice on that day. But the latter goal was said to be offside, which left Mosimane extremely incensed.
Sundowns were then on the back foot for some time that season before it was halted due to Covid-19 in March 2020.
As Chiefs struggled to win matches when it resumed in the bubble, Mosimane had the last laugh as he won the league title in the last game of the season, stealing the title from under the noses of Chiefs and Middendorp.
“You can greet, you don’t have to be friends but respect each other when you are not on the field,” Middendorp told iDiski Times when asked about his rivalry with Mosimane.
“With Pitso on the field, it was a war. Absolutely he had an interest. He wanted to win games, I wanted to win games too, that is the passion we had.
“He was never satisfied with what he had. It doesn’t matter if he had won 4-0. As the coach of this level you are not satisfied.
“If you are working at Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, or with Sundowns, you must have the mentality to never be satisfied.
“If you are a coach and you are coaching these teams and you are satisfied, sorry, you are not the right manager.
“In all the games we played, it didn’t matter if it was a cup games, league match, it was always a very aggressive moment for each other. But off the field the respect was there and good, that is what it is.”
After losing the title in that manner, Chiefs management decided to part ways with Middendorp at the end of that season along with his assistant coach Shaun Bartlett.