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Feature: Who is Kaizer Chiefs' new coach Giovanni Solinas?

11:29 GMT+3 14/07/2018
Giovanni Solinas
The new Amakhosi coach will hope to hit the ground running in order to bring back the glory days at Naturena

After a three-month search for a new coach, Kaizer Chiefs finally unveiled Giovanni Solinas on Friday

The Soweto giants ended speculation surrounding their hunt for a new manager as they have been linked with many coaches vying for the hot seat.

Names such as Bafana Bafana boss Stuart Baxter, Free State Stars Luc Eymael, Township Rollers’ Nikola Kavazovic and FC Platinum’ Norman Mapeza were some of the names bandied about over the past few months.

However, Amakhosi's hierarchy opted for an Italian who is certainly no stranger to the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Solinas was born in Sassari, Italy, 50 years ago and possess a Uefa A Pro Licence which he obtained at the School of Italian Coaches (FIGC).

On closer inspection of Solinas' career, the coach has an abundance of experience having coached a number of clubs around the world including on the African continent.

Among the clubs he managed on the continent is Algeria’s ES Sétif, before moving to CR Belouizdad a year later as well as previously having stints with JSM Bejaia and MC Oran in 2013.

Solinas also guided Saudi Arabia’s Al-Faisaly FC (Saudi Arabia) in 2013-2014 before moving to the PSL to take over the reins at Ea Lla Koto.

With Setif (he joined in August 2010), he lifted the North African Cup Winners Cup in 2010, but resigned on 22 December 2010, citing family reasons.

A year later, he took over as Belouizdad coach replacing former Mamelodi Sundowns mentor Miguel Angel Gamondi, but resigned in November 2011.

Solinas took charge of JSM Bejaia in January 2013 and guided them to a historic qualification into the first round of the 2013 Caf Champions League beating Ghanaian champions, Asante Kotoko SC on aggregate.

However six months later, he was roped in as MC Oran’s coach, but was sacked in November 2013 after a 1-0 loss in the Algerian championship against USM Alger

The coach would temporarily end his stay in the African continent and moved to Saudi Arabia to lead Al Faisaly in the Middle East to succeed Marc Brys of Belgium. The Italian boss managed to save the club from relegation to a sixth-place finish in the league table. He also led the side to GGC Champions League qualification.

Following his stay in the Middle East, the Italian moved to the South African PSL to coach the reigning Nedbank Cup champions In December 2015 where he worked with ex-Amakhosi left back, Bradley Carnell as his assistant.


 
At Stars, he replaced German and former Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp as head coach of the club. Solinas would go on to lead Stars to a decent 12th place finish on the PSL table as well as guided them to the Ke Yona semi-finals in his first six months during the 2015/16 campaign, but stepped down a year later due personal reasons and returned home.
 
However, he made his return to Bethlehem on 30 September 2016, but faced the axe on 11 January 2017. Prior to his arrival at Naturena, he made his return to Saudi outfit Al-Faisaly in March 2017, two months after leaving the Bethlehem-based side.

In his second stint at Stars, he took over from French coach Denis Lavagne who was fired at Stars after only three matches at the helm and is set to start a new chapter in the South African PSL with Chiefs.

Fresh from three trophy barren seasons under ex-coach Steve Komphela, Solinas will be tasked with ending the trophy drought which has disappointed the Amakhosi faithful.