JOHANNESBURG – Once dubbed the “Cup Kings” of South African football, Kaizer Chiefs’ club manager Bobby Motaung admitted that former coach Giovanni Solinas’ philosophy wasn’t an outright solution to revive that tag.
Solinas was appointed earlier this year to take over a team that had endured a three-year barren run under the guidance of Steve Komphela. However, after a five-month review, the tenure of the Italian tactician came to an end - his contract was terminated on Friday - after a string of poor results in the league and cup competitions.
“It takes time to (adapt), even with Solinas, he’d need another year or two but with the way results were coming they weren’t going to allow him to adapt,” Motaung said during the unveiling of Solinas’ successor Ernst Middendorp on Monday at the Naturena Village.
Having previously coached Free State Stars in the PSL, Solinas’ tenure at Chiefs was his biggest breakthrough so far. However, that was short-lived due to factors such as rotation policy - which proved to be costly at times. While Solinas might have had a minimal knowledge about Amakhosi’s pedigree, Motaung admitted that they orientated the 50-year-old about the club’s history and culture.
“We knew when we hired him that he had not coached in a big club,” Motaung said. “It was an opportunity for him, because we don’t just say we need big name people. We do take coaches through the history of the club. But people have different personalities and we had to protect him and make sure that we part ways whilst it’s till okay for him. We could see that we were going to have a problem again.”
Many might argue that Solinas wasn’t going to last at Naturena, as he managed to bag the coaching post after the club’s inability to secure the services of their main targets. As a result, he got his work permit on the eve of the new season. Although the former ES Sétif coach might have missed the pre-season with the team, Motaung said they have no regrets in giving Solinas the role at the time.
“We don’t regret appointing him,” Motaung explained. “The man ticked the boxes when we sat down and interviewed him but unfortunately in football results must come out on the field. The relationship of the coach and players is key at the end as it is the one that takes the team forward.
We found out that there was a bit of a challenge in that aspect as players were not responding. We also didn’t want to go through what we went through last season, and we have to respect the supporters.”@Mihlalibaleka