Coach of the century in Bielefeld, football expert, globetrotter with stations in Ghana, Iran, South Africa, China and Cyprus and currently sports director of True Bangkok United. A perfect example of a German ambassador of football.
In an exclusive statement for the German Football Ambassador, Ernst Middendorp reports about his current club, talks about Asian and African football in international comparison and tells us about the sympathy (or participation?) and help of the Thai people in the very tragic rescue operation of the football team, which was enclosed in a cave.
Mr. Middendorp, with a gap of 4 points your team ranks second in the table with 13 league games remained to play. This appears like a very exciting situation for True Bangkok United. How do you see the situation in the current season?
The current position is acceptable; achieving the 2nd position in the T1 - League of Thailand at the end of the season (mid-October 2018) is our minimum goal. This place guarantees participation in the international Champions League competition here in Asia. We certainly have the right to formulate our championship ambition; 13 matchdays are still to come.
At the World Cup, unfortunately, the last Asian team, with the hard-fighting Japanese, has now been eliminated. However, due to their strong performances at world championships, it is clear that Asian and African countries are increasingly establishing themselves in the European football. How do you assess the general situation for the future of Asian and African football? Do you also see changes with regard to your work as Technical Director?
The progress can be seen (or is recognizable). There is no doubt that the African and Asian candidates are moving closer to the elite level of performance. On the one hand, one generally benefits from the fact that the majority of these national players are under contract in European leagues. On the other hand, great progress has also been made with regard to national competitions: the Iran League is of good quality, the J-League is very attractive, Morocco and Tunisia are also well organized for years. Of course my area of responsibility is to promote technical and tactical development in the club here in Bangkok: globally accepted concepts (Ekkono Method, Verheijen Model, Tactical Periodization Model,...) are discussed / the club's own'Playing Model' is developed and also implemented and carried out within the club / training courses and regular further education courses take place (...).
And last but not least: The news about the football team trapped in a cave in Chiang Rai touched us very much. How much have you been able to follow up this news and are such dramatic news also being discussed within the team and the club?
It's a miracle that the 13 boys were discovered after 10 days. Of course it was and it is a topic in all houses of Thailand, one is very pleased about the large, active support of institutions and/or private persons, who flew in here from all different directions. Great. At the moment we are trying to find ways to lead the boys out of the 'Cave'. No solution has yet been favored. However, a complete on-site supply has taken place.
(A.d.R.: The emergency forces rescued the last four trapped boys and their coaches from the cave in Thailand on 10.07.2018).
We thank Ernst Middendorp for his open words and wish him and True Bangkok United much success in achieving their sporting goals!