GIOVANNI SOLINAS’S resignation as Free State Stars coach yesterday has somehow given credence to speculation that he will be taking charge of Orlando Pirates.
The Buccaneers have been coachless since Muhsin Ertugral’s departure in a huff following the humiliating 6-1 defeat they suffered at SuperSport United in November.
And among the names that have been bandied about as possible replacement for the club that is under the temporary guidance of Augusto Palacios has been that of the Italian, who was in his second spell at Ea Lla Koto.
Pirates’ administrative officer Floyd Mbele, however, pleaded ignorance.
“The last time I checked, Solinas had a contract with Free State Stars,” he said yesterday. “It’s only now that I’m hearing from you that he has parted ways with them.”
Mbele said Pirates’ continued search for a new coach to lead the team going into the second round didn’t rely solely on any specific individual being suddenly available for the post.
“It’s a work in progress (the search for a coach),” Mbele said. “I cannot tell you who we are hoping to rope in at the moment, but I can assure you we have more than one coach on our list. Unfortunately I cannot give names.”
In what seemed an attempt to discount Solinas, Mbele spoke of Pirates’ stature while giving the profile of the coach they need.
“The thing is, Pirates is a big club,” Mbele said. “The person who comes here must be capable of handling the pressure that comes with the job and also fight to produce results going into the second round.”
The Sea Robbers have been struggling to produce results this season. In their last 13 league matches, they have managed just four wins and six draws, which has them lying 10th on the league table with 18 points.
Mbele added that whoever gets the Pirates’ coaching job will have to hit the ground running as the club would like to celebrate their 80th anniversary with some silverware in their cabinet.
“The season is not over yet,” Mbele said. “We still have a long way to go. This is an ambitious team. We go for whatever is on offer year in and year out. We never limit ourselves to just one trophy.
“Sure, we’ve already missed out on winning either or both of the MTN8 and the Telkom Knockout titles, but we can still push for something this season. We still have a fighting chance.”
Meanwhile, Serame Letsoaka will replace Solinas at Stars. Letsoaka, who made his name as a player with Stars, expressed delight at returning ‘home’: “I’m completely overjoyed,” he said.