JOHANNESBURG – While Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung reminded supporters to stay at home for their clash against Polokwane City in Durban this evening, the Amakhosi coach Giovanni Solinas wrestled with the idea of losing the 12th man.
Moses Mabhida Stadium will be empty for this Absa Premiership fixture as punishment to the club for the mayhem their fans caused six months ago at the same venue, where they invaded the pitch, vandalised property and damaged camera equipment as well as assaulting security guards.
This was after the Glamour Boys were eliminated from the Nedbank Cup semifinal by Free State Stars, a result that forced then-coach Steve Komphela to resign, after he’d then gone three years without a trophy at Chiefs.
In a statement yesterday, club supremo Motaung called on the fans to rather watch the game on television, as only the broadcasters and the media are allowed access, while the fans will learn valuable lessons from what transpired back in April.
Throughout the week Solinas has been lamenting this punishment, but understands the Premier Soccer League’s disciplinary committee had their hands tied in terms of what sanctions to hand Amakhosi.
“It will be like a funeral,” is how the Italian mentor described the likely atmosphere at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
He said this twice – the first time following his side’s goalless draw away to Highlands Park, where there was a capacity crowd, and again on Thursday when he was the recipient of the Coach of the Month award for September, alongside talisman Khama Billiat, who was voted Player of the Month.
Love & Peace pic.twitter.com/Qj5rGwdKwW
Solinas said a mental challenge was awaiting the Glamour Boys if they are to continue their good form well into the new month and beat a tricky Polokwane City outfit.
What will also make it difficult is the absence of striker Leonardo Castro, who has been their focal point in attack – benefiting from his relationship with Billiat, a player he knows very well from their time with Mamelodi Sundowns.
Castro hurt his ankle in their 4-1 win away to Cape Town City last month and has already missed three league matches, the two wins against Free State Stars and AmaZulu as well as the midweek fixture at Highlands.
Gustavo Paez and veteran Bernard Parker have been used as alternatives in those matches.
And although Paez scored against Stars, the impact hasn’t been as convincing as that of Colombian Castro, who is expected back in time for the Soweto Derby on October 27.