JOHANNESBURG – Cape Town City are continuing to capture the imagination of the football public. In just their third season as a PSL club, they are already through to their third Cup final - the MTN8 decider on September 29.
Now, the Citizens are gearing up for a crunch league fixture against Kaizer Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (3pm kickoff).
The two teams head into the match with contrasting fortunes: City have got off to a promising start, hence their place in the MTN8 final; Chiefs, on the other hand, just can’t seem to get going.
So, what has gone wrong at Chiefs this season?
How the mighty have fallen
That pretty much sums up Kaizer Chiefs since May 2015 - the last time the key to the trophy cabinet was spotted at Naturena.
The international break was a welcome reprieve for the suffering Amakhosi fans who have watched in horror as their club struggles to adjust to life under new coach Giovanni Solinas.
Chiefs’ one win in eight matches in all competitions is a harsh reminder that the Glamour Boys are going to have to dig deep to turn the tide.
Several elements have contributed to their poor start to the season, particularly in the league, where Solinas is still searching for his maiden victory as coach after five false starts. And City will not make it any easier.
But why do the two teams have such contrasting fortunes?
Embarrassing trophy drought
In his defence of Solinas last week, Chiefs supremo Kaizer Motaung joked that English club Liverpool have not won a championship in 27 years, but Anfield is never short of bums on seats.
Amakhosi have had incredibly poor spectator numbers at FNB Stadium because of a trophy drought which could possibly stretch to four years if the coach doesn’t pick up some silverware from the remaining tournaments this season.
The problems at Chiefs are a combination of being let down by Solinas’ predecessor Steve Komphela and the average quality of players brought in during his tenure.
Only in January did Amakhosi begin addressing this issue, but it was too late by then.
With time, Motaung believes, the Italian mentor can bring back the smiles of the disgruntled supporters, who are divided over whether to afford Solinas more time or demand his sacking.
The right combinations
Even Motaung admitted he’s never come across a rearguard as leaky as the one the club has at the moment. The boss was adamant that the arrival of defenders Godfrey Walusimbi and Mario Booysen would help solve the crisis.
Solinas isn’t quite sure of his starting line-up just yet - it can be tricky to know which players to consistently rely on when you arrived late for pre-season.
But Solinas’ sympathisers are running out of patience. To have managed just one win in eight at a club like Chiefs is sub-standard.
Chiefs are confident they have given the new coach all the tools he needs. It’s his turn to deliver.