Despite making headway with the unveilings of Khama Billiat and Giovanni Solinas, Kaizer Chiefs’ puzzle is far from being complete, writes DEAN WORKMAN.
Former Chiefs mentor Steve Komphela constantly cited the development of his squad and the processes that the team needed to go through in order to be successful.
The now Bloemfontein Celtic boss, however, will not have the chance to see through his vision after a two-and-a-half year trophyless spell with the Soweto giants forced his resignation.
Solinas will now be tasked with deciphering Komphela’s blueprint while also looking to stamp his own identity on the side, but a manager of his calibre is certainly a step in the right direction for the Amakhosi, following their ‘nightmare’ search for a coach.
There have been a number of positive signs at Naturena with the club dipping into the market to bolster their squad with the likes of Billiat, Letlhogonolo Mirwa and Andriamirado ‘Dax’ Andrianarimanana ― although his transfer has been delayed after Madagascar club Fosa Juniors claimed that the player is still under contract until 2020, but the Soweto Giants remain confident that he will link up with the squad soon.
Marquee-signing, Billiat, in particular, will offer Chiefs that X-factor in attack – something that’s been missing since the days of Knowledge ‘The Smiling Assasin’ Musona.
Chiefs 2-1 loss to a newly-assembled (weakened) Sundowns side in The Shell Helix Ultra Cup provided more questions than it did answers for Solinas and Co.
Speaking after the defeat Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Patrick Mabedi said, ‘It was a good game of football. We have to admit that they were the better team on the day.
‘We are in pre-season and it was a good game for us to see where we need to work on and I believe we saw that.
‘And I think as we go forward we can work on those moments.’
‘For now, I think we are happy with what we have. There is only one position that we need to consider, and we are looking at that. A left-back. And for the rest of the positions I think we are sorted,’ he added.
So Chiefs are seemingly happy to not make any more additions, bar maybe a left-back, in the remainder of the transfer window, but they should be thinking differently.
The midfield area, in particular, could do with some bolstering if Chiefs are to challenge for the title.
Willard Katsande is ageing and perhaps his poor showing against Sundowns on the weekend is indicative of his decline. A tough-tackling no-nonsense defensive midfielder might just be needed to sure up things in the middle of the park.
When it comes to the Amakhosi’s attacking midfield options, no one has really put their hand up to lead the charge.
Hendrick Ekstein, while comfortable and silky on the ball, has failed to deliver the final ball on too many occasions. His lack of end product has been a source of frustration for many fans of the Soweto Giants.
Siphelele Ntshangase only arrived at Naturena in January and the 24-year-old is still adapting to the club and is yet to show why he is so highly rated. Kabelo Mahlasela fits into a similar category as Ntshangase. The midfielder arrived after impressing at Bloemfontein Celtic, but can he adapt to the unique pressure which comes with donning the Chiefs jersey?
After three trophy-less years and a 17/18 campaign marred by fan violence, Chiefs will be desperate to put the smile’s back on the faces of their loyal following.
The Amakhosi, however, remain a work in progress and Solinas will certainly have his work cut out for him if Chiefs are going to challenge for silverware.
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
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