Solinas’s deal breakers at Chiefs

Solinas is expected to hit the ground running at Chiefs following their three-year trophy drought, with fans waiting anxiously to see what he will offer out on the pitch.

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Former coach Steve Komphela endured a beleaguered final year at the club, with supporters often expressing their discontent at the team’s cagey performances in what was perceived as a defensive formation.

There has also been plenty of criticism of the persistent use of the old guard, while new personnel get limited opportunities before being released at the end of each season. looks at five plyers who could be central to the Italian tactician’s cause of trying to win over the Amakhosi faithful and end their dry run.

Itumeleng Khune

The country’s number-one goalkeeper, as proven once again when he bagged his fourth Absa Premiership Goalkeeper of the Season award in May, after keeping 16 clean sheets in 27 appearances. The experienced Bafana Bafana shot-stopper will have a big say in terms of goals conceded, as he proved when he helped the team to a third-placed finish last season.

READ: Solinas's to do list at Chiefs

Daniel Cardoso

Cardoso was a central figure in Chiefs’ defence last season, as he featured in all but one of the club’s 38 fixtures in all competitions last season – that being their MTN8 quarterfinal defeat to SuperSport United. The former Free State Stars centre-back will again be important, regardless of who will partner him in the heart of the backline.

Kabelo Mahlasela

Mahlasela was an exciting prospect at Bloemfontein Celtic and earned plenty of plaudits before moving to Naturena in January this year, but an unfortunate knee injury sustained in his first training session saw him miss out on his debut. The 27-year-old attacking midfielder will surely be itching to live up to his previous hype and could make things happen from the centre of the park.

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Khama Billiat

Billiat is undoubtedly one of the top signings the club has made in recent years, and will have very little to prove upon his arrival after continuously showing his capabilities at Mamelodi Sundowns. The Zimbabwean international is where he’s always wanted to be, and will be looking to spring to the fore by contributing goals and assists up front for the embattled Glamour Boys.

Leonardo Castro

Castro has yet to find his stride in the Black and Gold since his move from Chloorkop, but with the arrival of his former partner in crime, it is expected he too could return to his old self that played such an integral part in the ‘CBD’ trio. The 29-year-old Colombian’s tally of 10 goals in 23 league appearances in the 2015/16 season suggests he could go a long way in helping Solinas banish his critics at Chiefs.

*Honourable mention goes to club captain Siphiwe Tshabalala, who was arguably Chiefs' best attacking player last season, as he contributed four goals and nine assists. The 33-year-old could still be heavily influential, but the baton ought to be passed on to the younger contingent in the squad.

READ: Cardoso downplays Chiefs' stuttering pre-season