Kaizer Chiefs’ failure to win a trophy in the past three seasons has been the dominant thought on new coach Giovanni Solinas’s mind, and the Italian as conceded he will be under considerable pressure to exorcise this demon on Saturday.
Chiefs host Free State Stars in a potentially tricky MTN8 quarterfinal at FNB Stadium on Saturday and Solinas is well aware that he will go into the game with his back to the wall after his side’s 3-1 home defeat to BidVest Wits in the league on Tuesday.
‘‘About the pressure‚ every coach‚ every player that comes here to Kaizer Chiefs needs to understand‚ needs to accept that pressure‚" the 50-year-old said. ‘‘Our job is to close the pressure because this is a big club that has got high expectations from the fans. We need to manage this pressure for the positive.
‘‘If this pressure puts you in trouble‚ then this is a big problem," said Solinas. ‘‘Yes, for a team like Kaizer Chiefs to go three seasons without a trophy, it is a problem. But me and my technical staff and the players we talk about it together and we try to solve this situation.
‘‘We ask ourself: why three seasons without a trophy? Where is the problem? What can we do to improve? What can we do to fix this? Yes‚ yes‚ we work in this direction."
Chiefs conceded four goals in their last two matches — 1-1 draw against Mamelodi Sundowns and 3-1 defeat to Wits — and Solinas admitted that his rearguard was a worry.
‘‘In my opinion, for a team like Kaizer Chiefs‚ conceding four goals [in two matches] is too much‚" he said. "Normally we do not concede [so many goals] but it has happened.
‘‘We must not rely on only the defenders to defend‚ we need the other departments‚ the midfield and the strikers‚ to work hard for the defenders."
SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo is hoping their 1-0 Premiership win over AmaZulu on Wednesday is the right tonic for their MTN8 clash with Orlando Pirates on Saturday.
United lost their opening match of the season to Cape Town City last week and Tembo said the first win over Usuthu came as a relief.
"It is always a relief to get the first win of the season under your belt. It gives us confidence and something to work on, going forward‚" Tembo said.
"But we are not naïve and we understand that there is still a long way to go in the season.
"There are a lot of games to be played and now we must switch our focus to the MTN8 against Pirates."
Tembo started the match with the experienced duo of Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Thuso Phala on the bench, but the former Bafana Bafana internationals will be available for selection against Pirates.
"It is about managing the squad properly," said Tembo.
"We have just come out of preseason and not many players can play three games in three days," he said.
"We wanted to have a fresh squad and we opted to leave them out of the starting line-up. But we will consider them against Pirates."