Amakhosi's new dawn

Giovanni Solinas
Giovanni Solinas

Italian Giovanni Solinas got his first taste of what it means to be Kaizer Chiefs coach as all eyes were on him in the stands at the James Motlatsi Stadium in Klerksdorp yesterday.

Although the action was taking place on the pitch in the Maize Cup, Solinas was the man everyone wanted to see.

He was confirmed as the new Amakhosi mentor on Friday, replacing Steve Komphela, who resigned in April.

The 50-year-old has a little over two weeks to prepare the team before the start of the new season on August 4.

The Soweto giants have been guided by Patrick Mabedi in a caretaker role for the last four months. Mabedi conceded that it was a relief that the club finally hired a new coach after his team beat Buya Msuthu 2-0 in the pre-season cup.

"It's always nice to have someone new in the family and the players are excited, but even before he came the players have been very professional," Mabedi said. "The coming of the coach is extra motivation."

The former Free State Stars boss has had two separate stints in SA with Ea Lla Koto between 2015 and 2016.

Solinas has been without a job since June last year. His last coaching role was with Al-Faisaly in Saudi Arabia.

Solinas could be on the Chiefs bench pending his work permit when they face Sundowns in the Shell Helix Cup at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Chiefs won the Maize Cup via a 6-5 penalty shootout victory over Free State Stars in Orkney yesterday. The teams drew 1-1 in the final and were forced to settle their differences through spot-kicks.

There were goals in either half as Leonardo Castro gave Amakhosi the lead in the first while Eleazar Rodgers equalised for Ea Lla Koto in the second. Chiefs' marquee signing Khama Billiat made his first appearance for the club since his switch from Mamelodi Sundowns.

Billiat showed why the Soweto club broke the bank to hand him what is reportedly the most lucrative contract in the PSL.