Wits victory shows Chiefs’ new coach has hard work to do
Kaizer Chiefs’ new coach Giovanni Solinas has a mountain of work to do papering over the cracks of an ageing, not sufficiently replenished squad by the evidence of Tuesday night’s 3-1 Absa Premiership defeat against Bidvest Wits at FNB Stadium.
Deon Hotto’s pile driver put Wits ahead in the 23rd, Leonardo Castro equalising in the 33rd.
Wits’ Zimbabwean signing Terrence Dzvukumanja opened his Premier Soccer Leauge (PSL) account in the 43rd, Gift Motupa adding the third two minutes after the break.
Solinas named the same starting XI in his second game who had largely matched champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the Italian’s first match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Breaking news was that Wits counterpart Gavin Hunt, criticised for his tinkering in last season’s disastrous 13th-placed season, named an unchanged XI too.
The lineup that had incorporated five signings — Robyn Johannes, Hotto, Motupa, Mxolisi Macuphu and Dzvukumanja — to brush past Free State Stars 3-0 on Saturday was retained.
The Clever Boys took the lead when Siphelele Ntshangase’s attacking pass saw Bernard Parker dispossessed, Wits moving the ball into space on the counterattack to find Hotto in the middle. The dangerous Namibian considered a pass out left, turned onto his right and lobbed a drive past a diving Itumeleng Khune.
The C and the B of Sundowns’ old CBD produced Chiefs’ equaliser. Khama Billiat’s free-kick from the left was perfectly directed at the head of Castro to expertly place past Darren Keet at the top-right corner — a goal that had the class of Downs circa 2015-16.
But Wits wrested back the advantage, Hlanti dropping a throw-in on the right short to Macuphu for the return pass, crossing and the medium-height Dzvukumanja rising impressively to head past Khune.
If the match seemed delicately poised from the break, it took two minutes to change that. This time Siphiwe Tshabalala gave the ball away for Chiefs in Wits’ half.
Again the Clever Boys capitalised by exploiting the spaces on the counterattack.
• Mamelodi Sundowns moved to second spot on the Absa Premiership standings with four points after a 2-0 win over Polokwane City at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Tuesday night.
However, this victory came at a price for Sundowns as they have lost first choice goalkeeper Denis Onyango with suspected concussion as he left the stadium in an ambulance and his neck supported by a brace shortly before half time.