PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE
Chiefs coach Solinas pitches a loss excuse
Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas slammed a bumpy‚ overly grassed pitch after Chiefs’ goalless Premiership draw against Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium on Tuesday.
The pitch‚ from far‚ looked well grassed and even.
However‚ closer inspection showed that under the grass it was quite uneven. Solinas said that this‚ along with the small size of the field‚ was a big factor in Chiefs being largely outplayed by Highlands‚ and unable to add to their three wins in succession coming into the game.
"Both teams played well.
"For us it was a difficult game because the dimensions of the field are small‚ and the grass [pitch] is no good‚" he said.
"So for us to play combinations was difficult. We created chances to win the game. It’s a pity we did not convert these chances. But I am happy because my players tried to win the game until the last minute.
"Congratulations to Highlands Park because they were fighting to get the result. I think the result is fair.
"I repeat‚ it’s not easy to play good football [at Makhulong Stadium] because the dimensions of the field are small and the grass is no good. I don’t know why they don’t cut the grass.
"The [surface] is bumpy. The grass is high and the ball cannot move quickly. The quick combinations were difficult for us.
"Now we need to focus on the next game. We move on."
Pressed on the issue‚ Solinas insisted his point about the pitch was not an excuse.
"My team tried to play on the ground. But if the ground is no good‚ it’s difficult for us." But Highlands coach Owen Da Gama was irritated by the suggestion that the pitch played a part in the result. "I think our technical team must take a lot of credit‚" Da Gama said.
"We planned well – against a team who can change an entire XI and go and win. I think‚ like Pirates [Highlands drew 1-1]‚ like Sundowns [a 0-0 draw]‚ you can’t call this a fluke. You can’t say we were lucky.
"I think we deserved a point – maybe three points.
"Yes‚ after the game you hear stories of the pitch.
"We played against Free State Stars [in a 1-0 defeat at Goble Park in Park’s last game]‚ where a ball that was going into the net stopped in the water. We never complained about that.
"I think both teams played on that field."