Coach Giovanni Solinas refused to use the empty stadium as an excuse for the team’s loss to Polokwane City at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night. This was because the team played the match behind closed doors with no supporters in the stands after the ruling of the PSL Disciplinary Committee.
The game saw Kaizer Chiefs suffer their first loss after a four-match unbeaten run in the Absa Premiership.
The coach made two notable changes when he rested Willard Katsande for the first time this season, leaving George Maluleka and Siphelele Ntshangase to take care of business in the middle of the park. The other change saw Ryan Moon start his first match of the season.
“Katsande has played the most minutes in the team and we needed to rest him,” said Solinas. “Other players had been rested or substituted – only he had played all the games, so we need to ensure that he, as all the players, is well rested. We need fresh players at all times.”
On losing the match, the coach believes the team gave a lackluster performance in the first half. However, after the half-time discussions, the Glamour Boys upped their game in the second stanza and there were huge improvements in all departments.
“Polokwane City created one chance and they scored,” reflected the Italian, “while we created numerous chances but didn’t score. That’s how it is sometimes in football. They are a good team with some quick players such as Rodney Ramagalela, so this worked for them. We congratulate them.
“We pressed and pushed the opponents back in the second half, creating chances but we unfortunately did not convert our chances.”
The coach plans to use this week to work on correcting some of the mistakes the team made this past week in the games against Highlands Park on Tuesday and Polokwane City on Saturday.
Amakhosi will be without six players in training (Itumeleng Khune, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Godfrey Walusimbi, Khama Billiat, Virgil Vries and Teenage Hadebe) as they will be representing their national teams during the current FIFA International break.
“I am happy about the break,” Solinas confessed, “so we can focus on the recovery of Leonardo Castro and Dax Andrianarimanana. We will also concentrate on improving our play.”
The team will play a friendly Macufe Cup match against Bloemfontein Celtic in the Free State’s capital on Sunday.
“The game is important as it will be competitive and give us a chance to try out various combinations, especially with six players away on national duty.”
Amakhosi are in third position on the Absa Premiership log with 14 points from ten outings.
The next PSL match will be a Telkom Knockout Last 16 clash on the weekend of 20 October 2018. The Last 16 draw will be conducted tonight at 19:30.
The coach concluded with urging his team to work hard as every three points and knockout game is important.