DURBAN – Giovanni Solinas and Milutin Sredojevic will surely want to go all the way in this year’s Telkom Knockout as they attempt to end their respective teams’ barren runs.
But history is against the coaches of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The Telkom Knockout has been dominated by South African coaches for the past six seasons.
Clinton Larsen won it with Bloemfontein Celtic in 2012, while Allan Freese was the winner with Platinum Stars in 2013.
SuperSport United won the competition under the tutelage of Gordon Igesund in 2014 and Pitso Mosimane guided Mamelodi Sundowns to glory in 2015.
Eric Tinkler won his maiden trophy as coach with Cape Town City when they got the better of SuperSport United. Last season, Gavin Hunt rolled past Bloemfontein Celtic.
Will they make it seven on the trot? It is all up to Hunt, Mosimane, Steve Komphela, Fadlu Davids, Larsen, Cavin Johnson, Owen da Gama, Benni McCarthy, Joel Masutha and Tinkler to keep it ‘local is lekker’.
Solinas and Sredojevic will face local coaches in the first round of the Telkom Knockout, ahead of their head-to-head clash in the Soweto Derby at FNB Stadium next week Saturday.
Pirates will welcome Chippa United at Orlando Stadium in Soweto today at 8.15pm.
Sredojevic will be up against the former Pirates coach in Tinkler.
The Buccaneers don’t have rich history in this cup. They won it once. That victory was in 2011 at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Pirates came close in 2014, but succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against Platinum Stars at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
The Buccaneers are going through a four-year trophy drought. They haven’t lifted a trophy since 2014 when they won the Nedbank Cup against Wits at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Sredojevic will be hoping to beat the odds and become the first foreign coach in seven years to win the cup.
His counterpart at Amakhosi is facing the same fate. Solinas will welcome the newcomers, Black Leopards, at FNB Stadium in the last-16 of the Telkom Knockout.
The Italian is still searching for his maiden trophy at Naturena. He joined Chiefs at the start of the season.
Amakhosi are also going through a barren run of trophies. They haven’t lifted a cup in three years.
The last time Chiefs tasted victory in a cup was in 2015, when they defeated Pirates through Tefu Mashamaite’s solitary strike at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Chiefs haven’t won the Telkom Knockout since 2010 when they succeeded at the expense of Pirates.
Solinas will be looking to become the first foreign coach since Julio Leal in 2011 to win the trophy.