Early reality check for Kaizer Chiefs’ Italian coach

Kaizer Chiefs have not won a title for three seasons. (AFP pic)

JOHANNESBURG: Any doubts new Italian coach Giovanni Solinas had about the mammoth task facing him at Kaizer Chiefs were dispelled on Tuesday as they crashed to a 3-1 home league defeat by Wits.

After three trophy-less seasons, the Soweto club made a promising start to South Africa’s 2018-2019 Premier Soccer League last Saturday by forcing a draw at champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

But early pacesetters Bidvest Wits exposed Chiefs as a side weak in defence and attack while they cruised to victory by scoring three goals in successive matches.

Namibian Deon Hotto, Zimbabwean Terrence Dzkuvamanja, and Gift Motupa netted for Johannesburg outfit Wits, who won the 2016-2017 title before slumping to 13th last season.

Colombian Nelson Castro levelled for Chiefs, who trailed 2-1 at halftime before a small crowd at the 95,000-capacity Soccer City stadium in Soweto.

“We lost our shape and have a lot to learn,” admitted Solinas, who was recently called “the nomad with no pedigree” by a South African weekly after signing a two-year contract.

The Italian previously coached clubs in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa without winning a national trophy and reportedly was not the first choice of Chiefs.

Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant, Frenchman Patrice Carteron, and Egyptian Hossam El-Badry had been linked with the club.

“We need to be more determined in our opponents’ box, more tactically aware,” stressed Solinas.

“The players cannot train as often as I would like because we have to play every three or so days.”

Wits’ bright start, with suspended coach Gavin Hunt watching from the stand, kept them on top of the early table with six points from two matches.

Former African champions Sundowns shrugged off dropping two points at home against Chiefs by seeing off Polokwane City with a 2-0 away victory.

Both goals came via headers with Brazilian Ricardo Nascimento giving the Pretoria club an early lead and new signing Lebohang Maboe adding a second soon after half-time.