Solinas to use break to fix Chiefs' struggles
Struggling Kaizer Chiefs suffered another body blow at the weekend with a MTN8 semi-final defeat to extend their trophyless-run and see their status as South Africa's most popular and most successful club slip further.
There were only 10 400 spectators at the cavernous FNB Stadium in Johannesburg to see the club host SuperSport United in the return leg.
Chiefs, who have not won a trophy for past three seasons, were in a handy position after drawing 2-2 away in the first leg last weekend but were beaten on Saturday night by Bradley Grobler's 58th minute goal.
It means they have won only one of eight matches this season and their failure to win any of their first five league fixtures of the campaign is the club's worst start ever.
New coach Giovanni Solinas is already looking haunted, forced to launch into a rallying cry even after the conclusion of the post-match press conference when he grabbed the microphone again to tell reporters; "You have not seen the best Kaizer Chiefs ... the best Kaizer Chiefs is coming."
The 50-year-old Italian now has two weeks to work on his squad although some players will be away on international duty.
"We need to increase our work on our fitness and physical conditioning. The players need to work hard to get their fitness, like (new signing) Lebo Manyama, but I repeat that I believe in this team. It is a difficult time for us but I believe in my players," Solinas asserted.
"In my opinion when Lebo Manyama is back to full fitness, we have a good opportunity to improve offensively."
But Solinas' argument will sound unconvincing to supporters who saw Chiefs play timidly and look more like the away team defending a lead than a team playing in front of their own fans and already with two away goals in their pocket.
"I was not happy with the way we played in the first half," he added.
"In the first half our combinations were not positive but in the second half we played much better. The boys put in the effort and they performed in the second half. It was a pity that we conceded the goal.
It's a disappointment, for all in the Chiefs' club and family because everyone wanted to get into the final. We needed this final but we've lost the opportunity to win a trophy."
Chiefs' last success was the league title in 2015 under Stuart Baxter, now coach of the South African national team.
"We have to go forward ... this is life ... this is football," said Solinas. "I have been here six weeks and I don't have a magic stick. We need to work hard, we need time but I'm happy with the players because, in my opinion, in the future this time will give (the supporters) satisfaction. "I think we can improve but I am confident. I'm disappointed for the result but I believe ... I believe in this team."
Chiefs are next away to Cape Town City in the league on 15 September when they will be looking to lift themselves out of the doldrums.