• Chiefs and Pirates on the right track

    Orlando Pirates vs SuperSport United

    Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates fans should be buoyed by their teams’ respective showings against Cape Town City and SuperSport United, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.

    Without reading too much into their Absa Premiership victories over the weekend against the 2018 MTN8 finalists, credit should be given to the Soweto giants for not only securing maximum points, but also for producing entertaining football on their way to overcoming their respective demons in Cape Town and Soweto.

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    Giovanni Solinas finally got the taste of his first league victory since taking over as Amakhosi coach from Steve Komphela, who called it quits after a three-year trophyless spell. The former Free State Stars mentor was made to wait five games after his charges lost to Bidvest Wits, while playing to stalemates against Mamelodi Sundowns, Baroka, Maritzburg United and Komphela’s in-form Bloemfontein Celtic.

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    But the victory was certainly worth the wait, Chiefs mesmerised Benni McCarthy’s side from the offset in front of a 35,000 strong crowd at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday. The three points collected and the 4-1 flattering scoreline could well be the result that Solinas’ side needed to spark their season into life.

    Barring the defensive lapse which led to Matthew Rusike’s equaliser, Chiefs were near flawless as they displayed their title credentials in a professional and ruthless performance.

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    Whether it be the international break, the integration of the new signings (Khama Billiat, Virgil Vries, Lebogang Manyama, Andriamirado ‘Dax’ Andrianarimanana, Letlhogonolo Mirwa, Mario Booysen and Godfrey Walusimbi) or all of the above – Chiefs looked more superior than their opponents in all aspects, with it probably being their most impressive performance under Solinas (Yes it was better than the 3-0 victory over Free State Stars in the MTN8)

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    On more than one occassion, Solinas stated that Chiefs’ best is yet to come, calling for patience from the fans in a bid to infuse his philosphy at the squad. We have seen evidence of him instiling his touch at the team and while notable progress is always good – Solinas now faces the interesting conundrum of having lifted the bar and in doing so – lifting fans’ expectations of the team delivering silverware this season.

    With Solinas having broken his duck in the league, the Italian mentor faces the daunting task of needing to minimise errors, maximise quality and most of all deliver positive results – by no means an easy feat.

    Cross-town rivals Pirates endured a much tougher task in securing their three points against a stubborn SuperSport United outfit at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night. Vincent Pule’s first-half header was cancelled out by Bongani Khumalo’s equaliser following an individual piece of brilliance by Aubrey Modiba for the assist.

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    Milutin Sredojevic’s side would go onto score two goals in the final 10 minutes of the clash to end a six-game winless streak against Kaitano Tembo’s men in the Absa Premiership which stretches back to 2015. Pirates’ victory was characterised by both moments of individual and team brilliance as they showed enormous character to put an end to SuperSport’s recent dominance over them.

    Given the Buccaneers’ excellent form last season, their slow start to the 2018-19 campaign is somewhat perplexing, however, the victory against Matsatsantsa is exactly the type of result that they needed to get their season back on track.

    With the club having gone through a rigorous pre-season locally as well as on the African continent, the players are in optimal physical shape and the only thing that I can think that has aided Pirates’ stop-start form in the Absa Premiership is a mental block which has somehow crept up at the Mayfair based outfit.

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    Having personally tipped the Sea Robbers for league success this season, I am still firmly of the opinion that Pirates will win the league title on the basis of continuity, hunger and meticulous planning.

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    In order to achieve success, one must have previously ‘failed’. In order to achieve success, one must trust in the journey in which you have taken. These are two aspects that the Soweto giants are well-versed in, with the latter an ongoing process under Sredojevic and Solinas respectively.

    ALSO READ: Why Pirates will win the Absa Premiership title

    There’s no doubting that both teams have enough quality in their ranks to vie for honours this season, it is just a matter of being consistent when delivering the goods.

    Photo: Gallo Images


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