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Football | Absa Premiership

Giovanni Solinas © Backpagepix

Solinas bats away Mokwena’s assertions

Inflammatory comments made at the start of the week by Orlando Pirates’ assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena have been batted away with a degree of contempt by Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas as the temperature ahead of Saturday’s Soweto derby continued to heighten.

Mokoena, unusually for an assistant coach, fronted a press conference at Pirates headquarters on Monday and claimed Chiefs had looked better organised when they were coached by Steve Komphela, who quit in April without winning a trophy in almost three seasons in charge.

He also said Pirates had turned down a chance to sign Khama Billiat, before he joined Chiefs, and questioned whether Leonardo Castro would return from injury in time for Saturday’s sell-out match at FNB Stadium.

Asked at Wednesday’s official pre-match press conference what he thought of Mokwena’s comments, Solinas said: “I don’t know‚ I can’t respond to this question. My colleague is Micho (Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevich). Micho is a professional and I am a professional.

So me‚ I respect my colleague.”

He said he did not know Mokwena but was taken aback by his comments.

“I don’t know him. But maybe it was also the journalists who created this.

“Because I was very surprised. Normally the coaches don’t talk in this manner.”

But Solinas also insisted he was not concerned by what Mokwena had said.

“I feel nothing. I feel very well. Very good – no problem.

“I think that the derby is a special game and you don’t need extra motivation.

“It’s a game where psychologically you need more to be calm‚ and not have extra pressure.

“Because the players know what Kaizer Chiefs against Pirates means. So they don’t need extra motivation.

“So we prefer not to talk about that. We need more to focus on the details,” Solinas added.


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