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Kaizer Chiefs newbie Dillan Solomons credits athletics for his speed and discipline

New Kaizer Chiefs recruit Dillan Solomons has credited his athletics background as the springboard that ensured he has become one of the fastest and most disciplined players in the Premiership.

New Kaizer Chiefs recruit Dillan Solomons has credited his athletics background as the springboard that ensured he has become one of the fastest and most disciplined players in the Premiership. Picture: Kaizer Chiefs

Published Aug 1, 2022

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Johannesburg — Dillan Solomons has credited his athletics background as the springboard that ensured he has become one of the fastest and most disciplined players in the Premiership.

Before cutting his teeth at the defunct Milano United, Solomons was an up-and-coming athlete, specialising in sprinting, as well as the long and triple jumps.

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He won a handful of awards with the Western Cape provincial side, before eventually taking up football as a professional career.

He had stints at Milano, Royal AM, Stellenbosch FC, Cape Town All Stars and Swallows FC, the club that gave him his top-flight breakthrough.

At Swallows, Solomons became a force to be reckoned with last season, outpacing his markers on the flanks and scoring crucial goals.

His exploits arguably made him the fastest player in the league last season, while his goals helped Swallows avoid relegation.

Solomons’ talent didn’t go unnoticed, with crosstown rivals and one of the biggest clubs in the land Kaizer Chiefs signing him last month.

The 23-year-old who signed a four-year deal at Chiefs is thrilled with the move, but has credited his background in athletics for the elevation.

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“Athletics were there, but football was always my first love,” said Solomons, who was unveiled to Chiefs supporters during their family day on Saturday.

“I think the decision to do athletics was to take my mind off football. And when I came back, I was hungrier to play football. That’s why I left athletics.

“Athletics really helped me, not just in running fast but body wise as well. That is how to look after your body when you are an athlete.

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“You can’t do certain things when you are an athlete. So that discipline factor also came into play. And I think it’s working for me now.”

The move from Swallows to Chiefs must have offered Solomons and his family some financial relief, given the challenges they faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“My mother got sick and lost her job (during Covid-19). And for me that hurt. But seeing how happy they are for me now means a lot,” Solomons said.

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Even though he has played in front of Chiefs fans before, Solomons will be the first to admit that he will have to take his game up a notch at Amakhosi.

Chiefs have the most demanding fans in South Africa as “the biggest club in the country” tag prompts the management, players and technical team to deliver.

That hasn’t come to fruition in the last seven seasons as Chiefs have endured a trophy drought, but there is hope that will change next season.

Chiefs have slashed the cash during the close season, signing eight players so far, including Solomons, Ashley du Preez, Zitha Kwinika and Kamohelo Mahlatsi.

In ensuring that there is a new era under new coach Arthur Zwane, Chiefs also released some senior players such as Bernard Parker and Daniel Cardoso.

But Solomons is confident the remaining seniors players, such as club captain Itumeleng Khune, will help the team and youngsters reach the heights of the club’s past.

“I think there’s enough experience, although we call this time the new age,” Solomons said. “We are working hard on maintaining the unity in the team.

“It is very important not to break the unity in the team at the moment. The spirit at the club, at the moment, is really huge.”

@Mihlalibaleka

IOL Sport

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