As the cold front swept through the Kaizer Chiefs village in Naturena this week, perhaps coach Giovanni Solinas momentarily forgot his is a hot seat.
But a reminder of what is at stake when Amakhosi host his former employers Free State Stars in the quarter-finals of the MTN8 competition today (6pm kick-off), with the context being that Chiefs haven’t won a trophy in three seasons, quickly jogged his memory.
“It’s an opportunity for us to change that because the road to winning the trophy is short,” said Solinas, who wants a reaction from his side following Tuesday night’s 3-1 defeat at home against Bidvest Wits.
“But this road is not only short for Chiefs, it is also short for other teams and other coaches who want to win this trophy. So, yes it is a short road, but a difficult road.
“The opponents are strong - the best teams in South Africa, the ones that qualified for the top eight.”
The MTN8 isn’t necessarily the shortest route to a trophy; it just appears that way because clubs play a quarter-final, semi-final and then the final.
The semis, however, are played over two legs, giving this tournament the same number of matches as the Telkom Knockout, which is the second cup competition in local top flight football.
In as much as Solinas has somewhat asked for a little bit of time to settle into his new job, patience isn’t synonymous with Chiefs fans.
“Every coach and player that comes to this club needs to understand the pressure,” the coach said.
“There is a big expectation here from everyone.
“In my opinion, we need to manage this pressure. It’s a problem if this pressure is negative and you are constantly worried. We need to exploit the pressure for motivation.
“For a club like Chiefs to be without a trophy for three seasons is a problem.”
Solinas said he was using the lack of success under his predecessor Steve Komphela as a way to spark an appetite for silverware among his technical staff and players.
“We talk about it all the time,” he explained.
“Together we are trying to solve this. We are asking ourselves why it has taken three seasons for a team this big to win a trophy. Where is the problem? Where do we need to improve? How can we fix this?
“Yes, we are working towards this. We are trying to solve this situation. We must solve this situation.”
Solinas gets it. He gets that his time at Naturena so far could turn into a roller-coaster ride should they miss out on the MTN8 title.
“This season the club needs a trophy. I don’t know which trophy, but this season we need to achieve some silverware.”@superjourno