Stars announce Middendorp successor

The 47-year-old, who has coached across the continent, most notably at Algerian side ES Setif, takes over from Ernest Middendorp, who has taken over the reins at Maritzburg United.

“Free State Stars FC is delighted to announce the appointment of Giovanni Solinas as the new head coach, subject to a work permit,” read a statement on the club’s website.

“Solinas will be assisted by former Bafana Bafana international Bradley Carnell, whose knowledge of the South African game will be invaluable to the new coaching set-up.”

Work permit issues are still being attended to by the club, yet general manager Rantsi Mokoena says Solinas was the ideal candidate for the job.

“We had to move quickly and fill the void left by Ernst Middendorp’s sudden departure. Giovanni was the standout candidate and ticked many boxes,” Mokoena said.

“He is the calibre of coach we were looking for – young and ambitious. His credentials speak for themselves. He is a keen student of the game and it helps that he has worked on the continent before. That experience should stand him in good stead for his latest challenge.

“We welcome Solinas to the club and wish him well in his new role.”

Should his work permit have been issued, Solinas’ first task for tenth-place Stars will be a fixture against Golden Arrows on 9 January.