New Chiefs coach set for a baptism of fire

Patrick Mabedi with Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas at FNB Stadium (Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix)

Patrick Mabedi with Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas at FNB Stadium (Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix)

New coach Giovanni Solinas will sit on the Kaizer Chiefs bench for the first time in Saturday’s Absa Premiership pipe-opener against Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld.

Prior to receiving his work permit earlier this week, the Italian coach has watched four pre-season games from the stands.

“I know the expectations are very high,” said Solinas. “It will be a tough game, but we are ready. In football, you need time because one can’t change too much overnight.”

The Italian coach joined Amakhosi three weeks ago, putting his pen to a two-year deal. Since he has been made to feel more than welcome at Chiefs Village.

“There are a lot of great people working here, both on the field and at the office,” Solinas comments. “It shows what a big club Kaizer Chiefs are. All the ingredients are available to perform at the top-level.”

The 50-year-old coach received his work permit on Monday and will, therefore, sit on the Chiefs bench against Mamelodi Sundowns for the first time.

READ: Sundowns favourites to win league title – Solinas

Amakhosi participated in one tournament and two friendlies during pre-season: the Maize Cup, the Shell Ultra Helix Cup and the Mpumalanga Cultural Xperience Cup.

Solinas watched all four games from the stands.

“The advantage of watching the match from the stands is that you have a clearer view of what is happening on the pitch,” he reflects.

“But the disadvantage is that you are unable to communicate with the technical team and the players, which is sometimes necessary.”

The coach adds that he had “to recover time” because he missed out on a part of pre-season. “I am busy implementing my philosophy of football, which is attacking football,” Solinas continues.

“That takes time and that’s a reality. We have to be patient. But I am extremely happy with the attitude, the commitment and the focus of the players at training. We are working hard to improve the tactics, fitness and psychological approach.”

READ: Solinas to play attacking football against Sundowns

About last week’s friendly against Cape Town City, the coach says: “We played very attacking football with Leonardo Castro, Khama Billiat, Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala all starting, while the full-backs went forward as well.

Solinas regularly uses the words “time and patience” and rightly so. He points out that it even took Alex Ferguson a while to get Manchester United to win trophies, before becoming a legend as the world’s best coach.

“To prepare a winning team takes time,” the Italian points out. “That’s not an excuse, that’s the nature of football. I know that the supporters want to win trophies and that’s what we all want. That comes with pressure, but that’s no problem. I am used to pressure.

On Saturday’s league opener against Mamelodi Sundowns at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld, the coach comments: “Playing against the reigning champions is never easy. Sundowns started their season early because they had to play African Champions League games.

“They are the favourites for this season and they have a fantastic coach in Pitso Mosimane, who leads his team in special ways. I would have preferred to have played them next month, but this is how it is.”

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