Ernst Middendorp, now in his second spell as Kaizer Chiefs coach, has never lost a Soweto Derby, but he has argued it doesn’t count for much.
When Amakhosi face Pirates on Saturday afternoon, it will be the eighth time that the German is in the dugout for this big fixture and in his previous seven, Middendorp has won three in open play, two on penalties and managed just two draws.
Asked whether it would be nerve-wrecking, especially for his Pirates counterpart and compatriot Josef Zinnbauer, Middendorp insisted he expected the Buccaneers coach not to be overwhelmed by the occasion.
“Really? I didn’t know,” he said of his own Soweto Derby record before responding to the question about Zinnbauer’s derby debut.
“I think he is calm enough having spent some months in the German Bundesliga – it’s a cooking environment every second. If it’s Hamburg (where Zinnbauer coached for a year in 2014) you go to Dortmund or Bayern Munich, it’s derby time all the time. If you have a little bit of experience on that side, you are good.”
Middendorp did, however, admit that preparing for a Soweto Derby can be a roller-coaster.
“You’d have to ask him because I don’t know if he is sleeping at night. But you have to be a little bit tense. For me it is for every game, but yes with the derby game the hype should be a little bit higher. In the end it’s about controlling and the right mood into the game,” he explained.