CAPE TOWN – Kaizer Chiefs wanted a coach who understands the PSL and can push the Amakhosi to glory in the Caf Confederation Cup, says Kaizer Motaung in explaining the appointment of Giovanni Solinas as the new coach.
Motaung stunned the South African soccer fraternity on Friday with the Solinas announcement, with speculation rife over the last few months that Bafana Bafana mentor Stuart Baxter was on his way back to Naturena for a third time. But Baxter is going nowhere, and after Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung said recently that three top coaches the club wanted were signed by clubs with bigger financial deals, he still promised that a “quality coach” would take over from Steve Komphela.
That man has turned out to be Solinas, who it must be said doesn’t exactly boast the most glittering coaching CV around. The 50-year-old Italian has worked in Saudi Arabia, Algeria and South Africa, where he had two spells with Free State Stars. Chiefs said in a statement on Friday that Solinas had won the Algeria Cup with ES Setif, and has also coached in the Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup.
“We always look at what a coach can do and we believe that with Solinas, we have brought in a person with the right mechanism and energy to do well,” Kaizer Motaung said. “We also looked at recruiting a coach who understands our league. And somebody who can help us do well on the African continent, as we will be participating in the Confederations Cup.
“It’s important to understand that the game of football has become very scientific, which means that the strength of the coach is the technical team around him, even though he will, of course, always be the one in charge. We feel that Solinas is the right guy to guide this process.”
Chiefs said that Solinas signed a two-year contract, with an option for a one-year extension, but didn’t mention any new support staff. Patrick Mabedi is set to continue as part of the team management, although Doctor Khumalo could also make a dramatic return to his "home" club.
“It’s a big opportunity as Kaizer Chiefs are a big club, not only in South Africa, but also on the African continent,” Solinas said. “Coaching a club of this magnitude comes with a big responsibility. I will work hard day and night to make the Kaizer Chiefs Family and the supporters happy.”
Motaung said Solinas is still waiting for his work permit and will not be in charge for this weekend’s Maize Cup pre-season tournament.