After coming across a bit like a rabbit being caught in the headlights, Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas seems much more assured ahead of Saturday’s Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates.
Perhaps it’s due to having had some time with work with the players who weren’t involved in the Fifa international window, or the fact that the Amakhosi haven’t conceded any goals in their last three games.
There were two 1-0 wins over SuperSport United and Black Leopards, and a goalless draw with Chippa United after losing the last Pirates clash 2-1 on October 27.
But whatever it is, Solinas made a great point on Thursday about how history won’t favour Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout semi-final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium (3pm kickoff).
“This is Kaizer Chiefs – we play to win. The history shows that in 164 games, Chiefs won 67, Pirates won 40, draw: 52. So, the history is for Kaizer Chiefs, but the history count for nothing for this game. New game, new derby.
“Nothing of the past counts – it’s a new history, and we must create a new history for Kaizer Chiefs,” the Italian said at a PSL press conference in Johannesburg.
“This is not a game – this is the Game, with a G capital letter! Chiefs-Pirates is the game. It’s a very important game, and we arrive for this game much better than the last derby.
“It is our responsibility, and for me personally, it is my responsibility. We want to work hard to make our supporters happy.”
Solinas was also optimistic about the condition and readiness of his players, after declaring Lebogang Manyama fit to take on Pirates.
“We had a lot of injuries, and some players didn’t train for five or six days (ahead of the last derby). Generally, the condition was not good for the last derby, and now all players are available and training, which is very positive,” the coach said.
“We lost the last derby, but we took the lessons from that. The lessons are more fighting, more concentration. This is a cup game, so 90 minutes may not be enough, as we could go to extra time or penalties.
“We need to focus on the details, because we played well for 20 minutes, and then lost our manner to play football – we lost concentration.
“But after the derby, I saw my boys improve a lot, and they didn’t concede a goal in the last three games.”@ashfakmohamed