No glitz or glamour, but Solinas is a solid choice for Chiefs
After months of waiting, Kaizer Chiefs fans may feel a little underwhelmed after Italian Giovanni Solinas was named as the club's new coach on Friday, but he does present a solid choice, more than a passing knowledge of South African football.
Avram Grant, Patrice Carteron and Hossam Al-Badary were names that were publicly banded about as filling the Amakhosi hot-seat, but when those became unavailable, Chiefs turned to Free State Stars coach Solinas.
"It's a big opportunity as Kaizer Chiefs are a big club, not only in South Africa but also on the African continent," Solinas told the club's website.
"Coaching a club of this magnitude comes with a big responsibility. I will work hard day and night to make the Kaizer Chiefs family and the supporters happy."
Solinas was largely lauded for the work he did in two brief spells at Stars. He brought organization and a willingness to play attacking football, something that he will need to do at Chiefs as well.
He was well-liked by the players, who bought quickly into his methods, and gave the impression he was a keen student of the game.
He is quiet and unassuming, and did not rage from the sidelines like many other Absa Premiership tacticians, and tactically seemed very astute.
Of course, Stars was a low-pressure environment and, on both occasions, he chose to leave of his own volition.
He will find Chiefs a totally different environment and the pressure will be on front day one, especially as the club have not won a trophy in three seasons, an unprecedented barren run in the club's 48-year history.
"We were looking for a coach who firstly understands the South African league and SA football‚" Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung told TimesLIVE.
"Someone who understands our culture in South Africa‚ and who also has an African feel. I mean‚ he's coached in the Champions League in Africa. He's got that experience. And he's a quality coach.
"His style of play and approach of how he wants to play in what we discussed‚ looking at the type of players we have‚ it just fits. It ticked the boxes.
"Secondly we looked at a matured coach‚ a tactician‚ and somebody who has got a philosophy with the youth academy. We looked at our plans as a club going forward.
"He fitted all the boxes. Because he's also an instructor with academies."
Some of that slightly contradicts the club's chase of other coaches, but Motaung continued to insist they had found the right fit for the club.
"It fits the bill in terms of what we have been doing and what we want to achieve as well. And he's a winner - he wants to win something," Motaung said.
"He wants to win trophies. The supporters are hungry for success. And he's a father figure and he'll bring that passion to the players as well. He's calm and his energy is positive."
Motaung admits it has been something of a tortuous journey to get this far, with Komphela having left his post in mid-April.
"It's been a process that I've talked about for some time trying to find our man. It's not been an overnight success story. It's been a bit of a process this time.
"And that's why we're saying he fits the continuation. He's not coming in and finding a dead wood team - he finds a team that is fresh."
Solinas has a UEFA pro License and has also coached extensively in Algeria, though curiously not in his native Italy.
He will now hope to receive his work permit before the start of the new Absa Premiership season, which is slated for the weekend of August 3-5.