Amakhosi will be dotting all the i’s ...
KAIZER CHIEFS’ coach Giovanni Solinas reckons that the biggest mistake that they can do in the Premier League this season is undermining their fellow counterparts.
After a false start in the Absa Premiership, Chiefs looked to have turned the corner when they bagged three consecutive wins against Cape Town City, Free State Stars and Amazulu, but their progress came into a halt in their last two games as they drew to Highlands Park and lost to Polokwane City, respectively.
“It’s not easy at all this season because if you check the results from the previous and current season, the results are balanced,”Solinas said. “If most games end in a score of 1-0 or 2-1, that means every game is difficult. We need to make sure that we prepare very well for each game, and not underestimate the opponents because everybody can beat you and vice versa.”
The 3-2 loss to Supersport United over the two-legged MTN8 semi-final encounter, meant that Chiefs’ three-year barren run continued. However, this year’s Telkom Knockout competition that’s scheduled to commence in the weekend of October 20 – 21, will give them another opportunity to make amends for the disappointment that they endured early last month.
With the opener of the competition scheduled to take place after the international break, Solinas is adamant that they would have well prepared.
“I think when you have the time, you can improve the team,” Solinas insisted. “There will be enough time for exercises and training sessions; and for us that is positive. We have to respect Black Leopards, and personally, I don’t underestimate them. They started well in the league and they try to play football, so it’s a very tough game for us.”
The Leopards’ encounter in the Telkom Knockout will also serve as a curtain-raiser for Chiefs’ meeting with Orlando Pirates in this season’s first edition of the Soweto Derby that will be held at FNB Stadium (3:30pm) on October 27. And with the match dubbed as one of the biggest derbies in Africa, Solinas is hoping that football will be the winner on the day.
“The derby is always a special game but I want to dedicate this game to our supporters,” he said. BRILLIANT Khuzwayo is yet to make his debut for Orlando Pirates because of an injury and Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic doesn’t want to rush him back into action.
Siyabonga Mpontshane has been commanding the starting berth for the Buccaneers between the sticks so far this season.
Mpontshane was replaced by Jackson Mabokgwane this past weekend against AmaZulu at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi after sustaining an injury before the league game.
Khuzwayo left Kaizer Chiefs having played second fiddle to Itumeleng Khune for much of his time with Amakhosi.
Sredojevic can’t wait to have Khuzwayo back but won’t be rushing him back into action.
“I’m very happy to coach this group of players. Brilliant Khuzwayo is a top class personality. Even outside the field of play (he is a top class personality), any coach will be happy to have such a positive person in the team.
“He set the tone in the team and moves the mood into the right direction,” Sredojevic said.
Khuzwayo has an opportunity to make his debut against his former team on October 27.
Pirates will face their arch-rivals, Amakhosi, in the Soweto Derby. Before that game they will welcome Chippa United in the last 16 of the Telkom Knockout at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
“I will say that he is working very hard. As to how far, we should not rush (him). With the injury that he sustained, I believe he has worked very hard (to be where he is now).
“He is on the good road to recovery. The goalkeeper coach, medical team and the technical team will make the decision as to when can we utilise him the best possible way,” Sredojevic explained.
Pirates have struggled to find a permanent replacement for the late Senzo Meyiwa.
They tried various options without success. The list of goalkeepers who failed to make the grade at Pirates includes Philani Zikalala, Fatau Dauda, Felipe Ovono, Wayne Sandilands and Brighton Mhlongo.
Meyiwa died in 2014. Mpontshane also didn’t enjoy the best of starts at Pirates but is slowly settling in.
Khuzwayo was seen as the missing puzzle in defence for the Buccaneers.