Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas refuses to blame absent 12th man against Polokwane City


Chiefs hosted the first of three matches behind closed doors on Saturday as punishment for their fans' destructive pitch invasion after the club's Nedbank Cup semi-final loss to Free State Stars at the venue on April 21.

Solinas's side went on to lose the game 1-0, as they were undone by a possible contender for goal of the season by ex-Chiefs player Vusimuzi Mngomezulu in Durban.

Mngomezulu intercepted a pass from Mario Booysen; he then circulated the ball with Rodney Ramagalela before curling in a stupendous shot that completely beat Itumeleng Khune at the far post just before half-time.

"No, no excuse," Solinas said without hesitation when asked if his side were affected by the absence of the 12th man.

"I don't want to make an excuse about [playing] without supporters. We didn't lose the game because of the issue of supporters.

"In my opinion, the team performed very well. It was not easy today because the second half the guys were very positive. In the first we didn't understand the manner of attack, because they gave us the space behind and we didn't exploit this space.

"But you know this is football, sometimes the team creates one chance they win the game, so congratulations to Polokwane City for the victory.

"I'm not happy about the first half but I'm satisfied with the second half."

Solinas felt Chiefs could have better exploited City's tactic of sitting back in the second stanza.

"If you watched the first half, we built up from the back and we moved forward the central defender," he said.

"When the central [defence] was dragged, the space is open. In this moment we have the time to play forward and it was good also because they pushed the line behind and they created for us the space.

"However, their opponent goalkeeper [George Chigova] stayed on the line, stayed in the goal area and in that moment we needed to put the ball behind by cutting, running behind. But in the first the guys stayed too much at the back.

"No one is checking the line to cut in and this was the problem in the first half."

Going to the international break, Chiefs will lose Godfrey Walusimbi to Uganda, Khama Billiat and Teenage Hadebe to Zimbabwe, and Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Itumeleng Khune to Bafana Bafana, all for the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

In the meantime, Amakhosi will be involved in the annual Macufe Cup against Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday.

Once the recess is over, Chiefs will play the TKO Last-16, with the draw taking place today, before facing Orlando Pirates in the Soweto Derby on October 27 at FNB Stadium.