Absa Premiership

Will Solinas do a bang-up Italian job?

2016-11-06 05:40
Giovanni Solinas (TEAMtalk)

Johannesburg - After missing out on the first silverware of the season, the MTN8 teams that played second fiddle are now scrambling for the second trophy on offer, the Telkom Knockout.

Last season’s finalists Kaizer Chiefs have hopes of clinching this season’s version after losing to Mamelodi Sundowns in the final.

Winning the tournament would revitalise Steve Komphela’s coaching career, which started in 2002. He has nothing to show for it.

On his way towards the last four of the tournament is his former club, Free State Stars, who taught him the ropes as a player and coach.

So there won’t be any love lost between the two parties when they meet at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban at 15:00 on Sunday. But another cup loss for Chiefs would not go down well with Amakhosi supporters – they are used to winning silverware every season.

They went without any last season, and this has put Komphela in a precarious position to start delivering trophies. He seems to have found the winning formula. Amakhosi are sitting in the top bracket of the Absa Premiership table. They have gone seven games without a loss, and Komphela should fancy their chances against his former side.

While happy with not losing matches, Komphela should be concerned about the lack of firepower in front of goals. Chiefs have failed to score in their previous three games. They needed a penalty shoot-out to dispatch Maritzburg United in the last 16 round.

They also failed to score against Orlando Pirates and Baroka FC in the league. Going into this encounter, Stars have nothing to prove as trophies are not their priority at this stage. Their primary objective is to retain their Absa Premiership status; anything else will be a bonus.

But after beating MTN8 champions Bidvest Wits in their last 16 clash, the Free State side will be forgiven for thinking they can repeat the same feat against favourites Chiefs.

Avenging their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Amakhosi in their league fixture last month, when they had caretaker coach Themba Sithole on the bench, will be top of mind.

They have since hired Giovanni Solinas, who will be looking to do an Italian job, as it were, at Chiefs as well. Solinas has stabilised the side and is yet to lose in four matches.

Keagan Buchanan, who had a niggling knee injury, seems to be over it and finding his feet in the Amakhosi team. The former Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder has fitted in well with Chiefs in the number 10 role, and a lot will depend on him this afternoon.

Stars will look to Danny Venter and Moeketsi Sekola to unlock the Chiefs defence. The semifinal draw will be conducted after the Chiefs game.

Read more on:    telkom knockout  |  steve komphela  |  soccer

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Saturday, 22 September 2018
Baroka FC v Orlando Pirates, Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:00
Golden Arrows v Chippa United, Princess Magogo Stadium 15:00
Kaizer Chiefs v AmaZulu, FNB Stadium 18:00
Free State Stars v Highlands Park, Goble Park 20:15
Sunday, 23 September 2018
Bloemfontein Celtic v Maritzburg United, Dr Molemela Stadium 15:00
SuperSport United v Black Leopards, Lucas Moripe Stadium 15:00
Wednesday, 26 September 2018
Baroka FC v Free State Stars, Peter Mokaba Stadium 19:30
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