Coach of the century in Bielefeld (Germany), football expert, globetrotter with stations in Ghana, Iran, South Africa, China as well as Cyprus and currently sports director of True Bangkok United. A showcase ambassador for German football.
In an exclusive statement for the German Football Ambassador e.V., Ernst Middendorp tells us about his current club, talks about Asian and African football in international comparison and tells us about the sympathy and help of the Thai people during the very tragic rescue operation of the football team, which was trapped in a cave system.
Mr Middendorp, currently 4 points behind, your team is in second place in the table with 13 league games to go. This looks like a very exciting situation for True Bangkok United. How do you assess the situation in the current season?
The current position is acceptable; reaching the 2nd position in Thailand’s T1 – League at the end of the season (mid-October 2018) is our minimum target. This position guarantees participation in the international Champions League competition here in Asia. We are certainly justified in formulating our championship ambition in this way; 13 match days are still to come.
German Football Ambassador e.V.
Unfortunately, the last Asian team to be eliminated from the World Cup was the Japanese, who fought exceptionally well. However, based on strong performances at World Cups, you can see that Asian and also African countries are increasingly catching up with European football. How do you assess the general situation for the future of Asian and African football? Do you also sense any changes with regard to your job as technical director?
There is progress to be seen. There is no doubt that the African and also the Asian candidates are getting closer to the elite level of performance. On the one hand, we generally benefit from the fact that the majority of these national players are under contract in European leagues. On the other hand, great progress has been made in terms of national competitions: the Iran League is of good quality, the J-League is very attractive, Morocco and Tunisia have also been well organised for years. Of course, one of my responsibilities is to promote the technical-tactical development of 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 executed within the club / further education and regular training courses take place (…).
German Football Ambassadors e.V.
And last but not least: We were of course very touched by the news about the football team trapped in a cave in Chiang Rai. How closely did you follow this news and is such dramatic news also discussed within the team and the club?
It is a miracle that the 13 Boys were discovered after 10 days. Of course, it was and is a topic of discussion in all the houses in Thailand, one is very happy about the great, active support of institutions and/or private persons who have flown in here from the most different directions. Great. At the moment they are trying to find ways to lead the boys out of the ‘cave’. No solution has been favoured yet. However, a complete on-site supply has taken place.
(A.d.R.: The emergency services rescued the last four trapped youths and their coaches from the cave in Thailand on 10.07.2018).
We would like to thank Ernst Middendorp for his open words and wish him and True Bangkok United every success in achieving their sporting goals!