Former Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has revealed that he wanted to sign Hungarian striker Bálint Bajner for Amakhosi in 2019.

Bajner is reportedly training with Chiefs as the Soweto giants desperately search for centre-forward to boost their stocks upfront.

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Middendorp said Bajner (31) spent three weeks training under his guidance in 2019 when the players was 28, and Amakhosi’s whole technical team were impressed with the striker and recommended that the club’s management sign the former Borussia Dortmund player.

However, Amakhosi’s management apparently opted to keep Leonardo Castro at Naturena, after the Colombian striker and club reversed an intention to part ways.

“This player was 28 in March 2019 and he trained for three weeks at Naturena,” Middendorp told TimesLIVE.

“I wrote a detailed report about him, and we recommended that the club keep him, but it was not followed by the management at that time.

“It was at the time when I saw what had happened in the [previous] season in which we lost a cup final against a second-tier team [TS Galaxy, in the 2018-19 Nedbank Cup] in Durban.

“There was no power, there was nothing upfront and I had a very clear idea to find two players. One was Samir [Nurković], and Castro was on his way out but Bálint was not signed and we kept Leonardo.”

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Bajner, who is 196cm tall, played mostly for the reserve team at German giants Borussia Dortmund in two stints in 2012-13 and 2017-18, though he did play 19 minutes in a senior Bundesliga match in the first of those seasons.

He also spent time on loan in England playing for West Ham United’s reserves from Romanian team Liberty Salonta in 2008 and at Ipswich Town. His last club was Pécsi MFC in the Hungarian second-tier , who the website Transfermarkt says he left in July 2021.

Middendorp, who coached Chiefs in the mid-2000s and in a second stint from December 2018 to September 2020, described the Hungarian as a player with a strong physical qualities and who had an excellent work ethic during his trial in 2019.

“He is very strong, tall, aggressive, and good in spaces in and out of possession.

“He also brings the pressing threat and is very educated, soccer-related of course.

“If you were in a high-performance centre of a team like Borussia Dortmund or with any other team with a high-performance centre in Europe, you know what it means to follow advice.”

Bajner’s record shows him not to be a prolific goalscorer of the level of Mamelodi Sundowns’ Peter Shalulile or Bradley Grobler of SuperSport United, but he is said to be a bustling centre-forward who can battle defenders and open spaces for other attackers.

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The highest number of goals he has scored in a season is 11 when he was playing for a lower-tier Italian side Sulmona in 2011-12.

After hesitating for weeks Chiefs added Burundian Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana to their squad in August and the striker notched six goals in six games before getting injured.

Four of those were scored form the penalty spot and that Chiefs are running the rule over Bajner indicates the club might still have questions over Bimenyimana’s technique.


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