Cape Town - Ernst Middendorp has resigned as head coach of Maritzburg United after 11 months in charge, the club has announced.
It brings to an end his third stint at the Midlands-based club.
United released an official statement on their website confirming the departure of the German coach.
Middendorp had signed a two-year deal after saving the club from relegation last season but found the objective of rebuilding a team to compete in the league difficult due to circumstances beyond his control.
"After a few games, I then realised that the challenge to save the club was in fact made even more difficult by challenges that were really beyond my control. It was very stressful to manage the situation. This was to be the case until the last game of the season when we survived in the last eight minutes of brilliance," Middendorp said in the statement.
"We identified the players that we wanted to bring in, and we signed eleven, plus the youngsters that we promoted from the Diski team who are now regulars in the first team. The blend of youth and experience, who quickly understood the philosophy we were using, produced good performances for everybody to see.
"However, again on the field, circumstances put us in a disadvantage and as such we lost critical points that would see us on a much better position on the log by now. It was very difficult to continue under such circumstances. Eventually after the Highlands Park game where even the fans became emotional, I took two days off to reflect on the situation and the club brand being under threat as a result.
"I then approached the Chairman and persuaded him to release me from the contract for the sake of avoiding damage to the club and to protect the brand.
"I indicated that after the Cape Town assignment, I would resign. The Chairman tried very hard to persuade me to stay and complete what i had started, but I felt very strongly that it is in the interest of the club that I step down because with me in the equation, it would be difficult to experience a different situation on the field than what we had experienced already. I had to remove myself from the equation.
"I believe that I have assembled a squad that is capable of challenging to be in a strong position this season, and I would therefore not like to see them being compromised. I leave the club with a very clear conscience that we worked well together and I received a lot of support from the Chairman, the Board, Management and the players, and I wish them all the best for the remainder of the season and the future."
Maritzburg United currently sit 9th on the PSL log on 10 points having played 10 games and recently suffered a 3-2 defeat to Cape Town City on Wednesday.