JOHANNESBURG – With only one win in eight matches since the start of the season, Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung yesterday chose to look at the positives in his early assessment of coach Giovanni Solinas.
Some sections of the fickle club supporters have already demanded that Motaung fire the Italian mentor, who was hired on the eve of pre-season to replace Steve Komphela. But the Chiefs boss isn’t known for being trigger-happy, having kept Komphela in charge for three years despite his failure to win any major silverware.
“You have to bear in mind that the coach came in and did not have pre-season training with the team,” Motaung reasoned.
“He just came in, and unfortunately, the programme we had in August was very tight because the league is trying to use the dates as early as they can. There’s going to be congestion as we go forward, especially because of the CAF competitions.”
Solinas has acknowledged that time is his enemy, but that’s not stopped him from promising to get Chiefs firing again.
SuperSport United knocked his men out of the MTN8 on Saturday in an aggregate score of 3-2 following the semi-final over two legs. Solinas came under even more pressure as a result.
“But I am not very concerned at the moment,” Motaung said, adding that he will not be giving Solinas any ultimatums.
“And you must understand that we have new players - it’s better to experience these hiccups in the beginning than to have them during the season or later. The coach does not have a magic wand to change things overnight. What you have to look at is the performance of the team - whether there’s a difference (from last season) or not. I know people will say we are conceding goals, yes maybe it’s a glitch we had in defence. But look at the team overall.”
What’s impressed Motaung the most about Solinas is his work ethic.
“He prepares his team well, but obviously he still has to know the players’ strengths and weakness. That takes time. But we can’t wait for too long, we need to be winning. For me he is doing a good job. It’s just that he has come under a lot of pressure and with things needing to be put right,” Motaung explained.
The ire of some Chiefs fans is that the club settled for Solinas when they couldn’t find a suitable candidate before the 2018-19 season kicked off.
“I must confess that he was not top of our list,” the Amakhosi chairman admitted.
“We lost one or two good ones because it’s not so easy for teams to get top coaches on the continent. We are competing with the Arabs for coaches. For example, we had agreed with a coach and he was offered a job in Qatar two days before he was supposed to sign a contract with us. But we have given him (Solinas) a chance to ply his trade here, so let’s give him that opportunity.”