Kaizer Chiefs Coach Giovanni Solanis will be involved in his very first Soweto derby this weekend but he is desperate to end Chiefs’ four year winless streak against bitter rivals Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
The last time Amakhosi beat Pirates was in 2014 and the Italian coach wants to reverse those statistics.
Solanis is rolling up his sleeves and will do the hard work in trying to turn his team’s fortunes around.
He was given extra motivation earlier this week when Pirates Assistant Coach Rulani Mokwena questioned Chiefs’ decision to let Steve Komphela go towards the end of last season.
Mokwena said Chiefs were clearly missing Komphela’s input and tactical astuteness.
Solinas did not respond to criticism, but Captain Itumeleng Khune did.
“I heard about what Coach Rhulani said, but I didn’t pay too much attention to it. I respect him as a human being. I respect him as a coach, but we are focusing on ourselves. We are focusing in our camp and we won’t let anything from outside come in and distract us. So, we respect his comments but we are just focusing in our camp and preparing for the derby.”
There is not much separating these two teams. Of the last 10 Absa Premiership matches played between the Soweto giants, there were six draws, with two victories apiece.
Khune says they are looking to improve on their record.
“It’s not nice to know that our last derby win was in 2014. Now it’s 2018. It’s been four years without a victory over our rivals. But Saturday is going to be a different ball game and we have to turn it around and go for a victory. We believe in ourselves and we believe in our supporters. They will come and rally behind the team. All we have to do is just to get them the result and put a smile on their faces.”
This year’s derby comes at a time when Pirates and Chiefs are picking up form.
Bucs are second on the log with 16 points followed by Amakhosi with fourteen points after 10 matches each. The team that will be victorious on Saturday afternoon will not only have the bragging rights, but will consolidate its position in the top three on the log.