Cracks in Solinas appointment

CAF Champions League

From what was shaping up to be a promising season after a serious cash injection into the team at the beginning of the campaign, Chiefs management will be scratching their heads as to which direction they’re now headed.

READ: Five things learnt from Soweto Derby

The end to their third barren season forced chairman Kaizer Motaung into taking drastic measures to turn things around in the off-season.

The resignation of Steve Komphela under threatening conditions was arguably the lowest point in Amakhosi’s history, with fans having grown increasingly frustrated by the lack of results and poor displays of the senior team.

A club regarded as the biggest in South Africa, largely due to their haul of 53 major titles in their 48-year existence and massive fan base, has come to experience rock-bottom in recent years, and needed a radical turnaround that would set them on the road to their former glory.

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Another player exodus followed, before the signings of former PSL Footballer of the Season winners Khama Billiat and Lebogang Manyama.

However, the appointment of Solinas has thus far proven rather regressive.

The Italian arrived as a last-resort in July – just a few weeks before the 2018/19 season kicked off – as Chiefs dallied late into pre-season in search of one of their preferred candidates.

Albeit reluctantly, supporters accepted the arrival of the former Free State Stars mentor and adopted a sense of optimism, given the rare quality the team possessed.

Fast forward four months – two failed attempts at cup honours, 18 points to show from 13 Absa Premiership games and two Soweto Derby defeats – things are looking rather bleak.

Solinas has all but dismantled what was meant to be a foundation laid by Komphela, implemented a mysterious rotation policy and thrown about more excuses than two hands could count.

ALSO READ: I feel pain, says Solinas

Fatigue; poor pitch conditions; the absence of fans; these are just a few of the defence mechanisms he has resorted to since the start of his tenure.

He was infamously reprimanded by Leonardo Castro for his tactical nous following their back-to-back 2-2 draws with SuperSport United and Bloemfontein Celtic at the end of August.

He later had a fall out with Gustavo Paez after hauling him off the park 65 minutes into their Macufe Cup friendly tie last month, as the Venezuelan striker enjoyed a rare start.

As far as the team’s performances are concerned, goals have dried up and the defence is in tatters in almost every match, with little signs of progress – particularly when looking at their two recent defeats to Orlando Pirates.

The CAF Confederation Cup presents an opportunity for Solinas to show some continental pedigree, but their chances of going all the way to lifting the title are slim to none.

READ: Paez omitted from Chiefs' CAF squad

Chiefs fans may now have to wait until the Nedbank Cup, while their league title chances grow increasingly unlikely with just four wins from 13 games thus far.

Though Chiefs are unlikely to pull the trigger, should Solinas last beyond this season without handing in his resignation, it would come as a massive surprise. 

More particularly with reported former target Patrice Carteron, who was relieved of his duties just four months into his stay at Al Ahly, now in search of a new job.