Forthright Stars coach tells management his players are just not good enough
Giovanni Solinas is a frustrated man at Free State Stars‚ where the coach says he has instructed his management that he does not believe the current squad is good enough to survive relegation.
The Italian coach said he has told his club that he needs to add at least five experienced players in the January transfer window to give Stars a fighting chance‚ but he does not know if his advice will be heeded.
Speaking after Saturday’s 4-1 thrashing by Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld – where Stars’ structure was praised by opposite number Pitso Mosimane‚ but the inexperience of a number of new players was noticeable – Solinas admitted his side have problems.
“I don’t want to compare my players with the players of Sundowns. But we have a problem‚” the likable Italian said.
“We have tried to find a solution with young players from the development teams‚ or who played last season in the First Division or Second Division.
“It’s not an easy job – no easy task.
“So I have said to the club‚ ‘We need quality‚ experienced players’. Because this season the league is very strong. It’s not possible to fight the big teams without experience and strong players.”
It’s unusual to hear a coach speaking of survival being his club’s main aim in December.
But Solinas knows the squad he has now‚ and the squad he had last season – and he says survival is exactly what Stars’ aim will have to be in 2016-17.
“Our target is survival. This is our main goal‚” he said.
“In the market in January we need a minimum of five players if we want to achieve that.
“I have spoken to my club – they know what I think about this.”
Solinas might be justifiably concerned how much support he gets in the market from a management who tried to put Stars up for sale in the pre-season.
Asked if he believes he will be allowed to make signings in January‚ he replied candidly: “I don’t know. This is what I think is necessary. After that I don’t know.
“Because‚ I repeat‚ I came back here and said to them‚ ‘Guys‚ don’t underestimate the league this season.
"It’s very strong. I don’t want to see the club relegated. I need the adequate squad to fight against relegation’.”
“The team last season was stronger than this season.
"It’s not easy to replace players like Justice Chabalala‚ Lucky Mohomi‚ Ayanda Nkosi or Sello Japhta.
“This season the club has bought inexperienced players who have played too much in the First and Second Division.
“I am frustrated because I need the results. To improve the young players takes time.
"And you don’t have the time in football when every week you need the result.”
Solinas‚ who left Stars for personal reasons at the end of 2015-16 and then returned after Frenchman Dennis Lavagne only managed a disastrous three matches this season‚ said Ea Lla Koto’s target for the remainder of this year is: “To get results.
“Don’t look at the opponents or their name or league position. The focus is on getting results.” - TMG Digital