New Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas will hit the ground running in their opening PSL game. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
There was no talk of hurting Kaizer Chiefs while they are still vulnerable and adjusting to the methods of new coach Giovanni Solinas from his opposite number Pitso Mosimane, as defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns host Amakhosi today (Loftus Versfeld, 3pm kick-off).

“Jingles” is instead focusing on getting off to a good start in the 2018/19 Absa Premiership season, which does actually mean beating Chiefs at Loftus, although that wasn’t Mosimane’s official line.

“Of course there is a lot at stake the bragging rights and points that we are all fighting for. It is always different when we are playing Chiefs,” he said.

The Brazilians may have the upper hand in the sense that they began their pre-season earlier last month due to their CAF Champions League commitments.

Mosimane has already been in charge of two group stage matches, a defeat away to AS Togo-Port that was followed by a victory last weekend against the same team.

In between these crucial continental games, Sundowns have also been preparing for the start of the domestic league.

It is for this reason as well as the quality of depth in Mosimane’s team that Solinas, who only got his work permit earlier this week, has already declared the Brazilians as title favourites.

Pitso Mosimane will want to get one over early in the season against rivals Kazier Chiefs. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

“Playing against the reigning champions is never easy. Sundowns started their season early, because they had to play African Champions League games,” he was quoted on the club’s 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.”

Solinas could never get the better of Mosimane during his two brief spells with Free State Stars in 2016 and 2017. On the two occasions the Italian came up against Mosimane, Stars were hammered 4-1 and 5-2.

Very few know what to expect from Solinas this time around, with his appointed having been met with mixed feelings given he’d been out of a job for at least a year and has a record of calling it quits when the going gets tough.

Mosimane on the other hand is focused of growing his team from strength to strength even despite losing Khama Billiat to Chiefs and Percy Tau to Brighton and Hove Albion in England recently.

But on Friday Sundowns announced the signing of Lebogang Maboe from Maritzburg United.

“We still have some injuries,” said Mosimane.

“Anthony Laffor and Andile Jali will miss the Chiefs game. But we have Ali Menza back after getting injured in one of the friendlies.

“But this is normal for us that we would have friendly matches on the one hand and play Champions League on the other. The trips do take a strain on the players, but we are used to this.

“We are now on week five of our training. After seven days we will be functioning very well. We are trying to manage two teams in one if I can say that - the team that played in the Champions League and the one that played Chiefs in the Shell Helix Cup.

"Let’s see. We are ready for this big season,” Mosimane said.


Saturday Star

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