Kaizer Chiefs

Mon 16 Jul by Nick Said


After months of speculation over who their new coach would be, Kaizer Chiefs have left boss Giovanni Solinas with little time to prepare for the new season and, if a draft fixture list for the opening day of the Absa Premiership campaign remains unchanged, a meeting with Mamelodi Sundowns on 4 August.The Italian was unveiled by Chiefs on Friday and while the hot-seat at Naturena is warm at the best of times, it will be searing for the Solinas from day one as his position was greeted with little excitement among many of the AmaKhosi faithful.He is expected to turn around the fortunes of a Chiefs side that has not won a trophy in three years, the longest barren run in the club’s illustrious 48-year history.And he has been given little time to work with the players, a key factor for TAB Soccer punters in the opening months of the season.Coaches often repeat that the most important time of any campaign is the work that is done before it starts, putting in place not just the right physical regime but also underpinning the tactics the team will use.Solinas is now playing a game of catch-up, under extreme pressure, and in a season with a congested fixture list that also sees the team competing in the African Confederation Cup, there will be little time for him to lay down his plans.   In fact, it is not yet clear if he will even be on the bench for their Absa Premiership opener in under three weeks as he must still receive his work permit before he can officially take up the reins.Counting in his favour is the fact that he knows South African football well from two brief spells with Free State Stars in 2016, but having been parachuted in at what is almost the end of the club’s pre-season, he has little time to get his ideas over to the players.Chiefs are also still looking to add to their squad and have yet to see the arrival of their new playmaker Dax from Malagasy club Fosa Juniors.It is a vital position that needs to be filled, along with another striker and players who can provide width.Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung was quick to suggest that Solinas “ticked all the boxes” they were looking for in a new coach, but he is, at the very best, their fifth choice in what was at times a tortuous search for a new tactician.Avram Grant, Patrice Carteron, Hossam Al-Badary and Stuart Baxter were seemingly all ahead of him on Chiefs’ wish-list, and there were likely unnamed others, but theSoweto club could not persuade any to join them and despite what they might say now, Solinas’ appointment smacks of desperation to fill the post some two months after former boss Steve Komphela departed.The proof will be in the results, but just how patient the Chiefs faithful will be with a coach that is a left-field appointment is the key question, especially as their great rivals Orlando Pirates have risen from their slumber under Micho Sredojevic.