Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas has no qualms about having fielded a seemingly not quite match fit Leonardo Castro in his team’s 2-1 Soweto derby defeat against Orlando Pirates on Saturday.
Castro‚ who only returned to training on Monday from a month out with an ankle injury‚ started brightly but notably faded and by the 74th minute had become anonymous as he was replaced by Ryan Moon.
Chiefs’ other key forward‚ Khama Billiat‚ who returned from international duty with Zimbabwe with a mild back injury that kept him out of last Sunday’s penalties Telkom Knockout win against Black Leopards‚ was more influential.
Billiat scored Chiefs’ 15th-minute opener.
But he too was spent by the 78th minute when he was replaced by Kabelo Mahlasela.
“Billiat scored‚ no? Castro performed very well‚” Solinas said.
“In my opinion it was OK. These two players are very important players for Kaizer Chiefs.
“There’s no question that they are good players. Very‚ very good. These are key players for Kaizer Chiefs.”
There was even the suggestion‚ especially regarding Castro‚ that his return was rushed back as a reaction to fiery words by Pirates’ assistant-coach Rulani Mokwena at the start of last week regarding the Colombian’s tendency to return home when inured.
Mokwena had raised question marks over whether Castro would play against Pirates.