Not that Giovanni Solinas was unaware of the heavy burden which comes with being a Kaizer Chiefs coach, but having missed out on one trophy already this season and trying to end the club’s winless streak in open play over the last four matches the Italian has been given another wake-up call.
Amakhosi host SuperSport United – the side which knocked them out of the MTN8 and then missed out on the trophy to Cape Town City – at the Moses Mabhida Stadium tomorrow hoping for a place in the semifinals of the Telkom Knockout.
“This cup is very important to us,” Solinas said. “It’s very important to Chiefs. It’s a vital game, because SuperSport are a very strong team. It’s a tough game, but this is the life we chose as coaches and this is football.”
Solinas was the flavour of the month in September when he and striker Khama Billiat picked up Absa Premiership awards following three consecutive wins against City (4-1), Free State Stars (2-0) and AmaZulu (2-0) before the Fifa international break crippled that momentum.
Chiefs haven’t won a game in open play since, needing a penalty shoot-out and a sharp Virgil Vries in goal to get past Black Leopards in the opening round of the Knockout two weeks ago.
“We need a reaction, fighting and believing in ourselves. You have to believe in yourself when you are in a difficult moment,” the Chiefs coach said.
“When nobody believes in you, then that is the time to prove yourself. So we need to show character and a strong mentality. Big clubs need players and a coach with strong mentality because the pressure is very high, the expectation is very high. We need to be resilient in this.”
Chiefs need more than just toughness, they need results – and a trophy. Their last piece of silverware was in May 2015.
But Solinas insists he has the backing of the Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung, and that they are in constant communication.
“I always have a meeting or conversation with the chairman and Bobby (Motaung, football manager and son of the Amakhosi boss). But this is normal in every club. My advantage is that I have a chairman and a manager like Bobby who know football, so it’s not difficult for me to share my ideas,” he explained.