CAPE TOWN - Kaizer Chiefs coach, Giovanni Solinas, has named defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns as favourites to win the ABSA Premiership this season.
Solinas will oversee his first game as coach when Chiefs and Sundowns clash in the first game of the new season on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld. The Italian coach also said that he would have liked more time to prepare for the game.
“Playing against the reigning champions is never easy. Sundowns started their season early, because they had to play African Champions League games,” Solinas told the Kaizer Chiefs website. “They are the favourites for this season and they have a fantastic coach in Pitso Mosimane, who leads his team in special ways. I would have preferred to have played them next month, but this is how it is.”
The 50-year-old was appointed as coach on July 13, but was forced to watch all of the club’s pre-season games from the stands, with assistant Patrick Mabedi taking charge, because he only received his work permit on Tuesday. However, Solinas thinks there may have been an unintended benefit. He was able to get a better view of their performances, and was pleased with his team’s showing in their 2-1 defeat to Cape Town City in the Mpumalanga Cultural Experience Cup at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
“We played very attacking football with Leonardo Castro, Khama Billiat, Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala all starting, while the full-backs went forward as well. There was also good penetration from the midfield,” he said.
“However, we need to strike an intelligent balance between attacking and defending. What happens in football on the ball is as important as off the ball. We are working hard on all these aspects of the game, including attacking movements. However this all takes time.”