Mon 17 Sep by Mark Gleeson
Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas takes his side to former club Free State Stars tonight (TUES) for what he calls a “special game” with an eye on another three points after their emphatic 4-1 success at Cape Town City on Saturday.Italian Solinas got his big break in South African football at Stars when he led the team in two short spells in 2016 with some success.Having managed to engineer a first Absa Premiership win of the campaign for new club Chiefs in Cape Town, to his great relief, he knows that victory will be quickly forgotten by the club’s demanding fans if it is not followed by success at struggling Stars.
“It is a special game for me, I spent a great time in Bethlehem. I want to thank [Stars owners] the Mokoena family, because they gave me the opportunity to work in South Africa. For me it is a special game, an emotional game,” Solinas said.“I am a Free State Stars fan, except when they play against Chiefs! My responsibility to Chiefs is to try and win every game, but I respect Stars. I wish them all the best in the league and the cup.“But Tuesday is a battle. Stars play very well and are a very strong team. It is a difficult game and we will need full focus.”Lebo Manyama made a solid impression on debut against his former side City at the weekend, but his lack of match fitness may mean he starts from the bench against Stars.That could mean a first inclusion for Madagascan playmaker Dax after his protracted transfer to the club was finally completed last week.There will be a question mark too over striker Leonardo Castro, who was taken off with injury in the first half against City, but Solinas says he is not too concerned if he has to make changes.“The shape of the team is always the same, we have our project and our system. We keep that system, we are not going to change if a player is in or out. We always try to dominate the game and play attacking football.”Chiefs have an excellent record at Stars having not lost in Bethlehem since 2010, a run of eight games, and with confidence high following their big win at the weekend, TAB Soccer punters should expect more success.