Steve Komphela arrives at FNB Stadium with his in-form Bloemfontein Celtic.
Komphela resigned from Chiefs in fractious circumstances, without a trophy in three seasons and in the wake of a fans’ riot after defeat in a Nedbank Cup semifinal. He has, however, won his first three league games in charge of Phunya Sele Sele, while Giovanni Solinas has found the going tough at Naturena, drawing three and losing one of his first four league games.
The Glamour Boys also could not find a win in the MTN8 semifinal first leg at SuperSport United at the weekend with the match ending in a 2-2 draw. The second leg will be played at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
While aiming for a win against his club’s former coach, Solinas is wise enough to know that if it comes it will not be easy.
“It’s a difficult game because Celtic have started very well,” said Solinas on the Phunya Sele Sele game. “They have won three games. This means they are a very good side. Steve is a very good coach. I like him because he is a very intelligent man. I hold him in high esteem.”
After four matches, Amakhosi are 13th in the standings with just three points, while Celtic are joint top with Bidvest Wits after their solid start.
Chippa United, Golden Arrows and Orlando Pirates have already felt Celtic’s sting this season and they will be looking to add Chiefs to the list of their early-season victims.
Komphela must be feeling on top of the world, arriving at Chiefs with the pressure all on his old club.
“We need a win in the league because we have not started well – too many draws. When we draw our people are not happy. That is why we need to win against Celtic but it will not be easy because they are playing well. We just need to believe in our philosophy and I trust my players,” said Solinas.
He could still not be drawn on revealing whether new signing Lebogang Manyama would be available for selection, while he said Chiefs were still awaiting a work permit for Andriamirado “Dax” Andrianarimanana. He and Manyama were in a team who played ABC Motsepe League side Baberwa FC in a friendly on Sunday morning in Naturena.
“They played in a friendly because they need the fitness and that is why we organised the match. Dax cannot play in an official game because he is awaiting his permit. He is a central box-to-box midfielder and plays in a similar position with (Siphelele) Ntshangase. We scouted him because he showed his ability. He can help us. When a good player comes I will never refuse them.”