Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
29 Nov 2021
1:33 pm

Baxter pleased with ‘good problem’ at Kaizer Chiefs

Sibongiseni Gumbi

"There is more competition which gives me a good problem," said Baxter.

Stuart Baxter, head coach of Kaizer Chiefs (Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix)

Stuart Baxter has a problem that every coach desires – serious competition for places in his team.

ALSO READ: Chiefs add to Swallows’ woes as they soar to second place

Having started their DStv Premiership game against Swallows on Sunday with a few fringe players, as some regulars were unavailable for various reasons, Chiefs still beat the Birds 3-1.

Players like Thabani Dube, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Happy Mashiane and Kearyn Baccus were handed starting berths and acquitted themselves rather impressively under strenuous conditions at Dobsonville Stadium.

They were handed runs in the absence of Njabulo Ngcobo, Njabulo Blom, Phathutshedzo Nange and Cole Alexander.

“In the three games over a short time, the load on the players has been enormous,” said Baxter after the match.

“We had to make a lot of changes (in the starting line-up) and ease the load at the finish by making changes. I thought Baccus was good and Siphosakhe (Ntiya-Ntiya) also came on to play an excellent cameo towards the end.

“It’s a situation where the lads you think are starters have to make sure they are up for it.

“There is more competition which gives me a good problem,” said Baxter.

The British mentor also mentioned how the windy conditions made it impossible for his team to play attractive football. Baxter has been heavily criticised for his defensive approach to the game in his second spell at Amakhosi.

“Ït was a difficult game. The pitch was very troublesome and the wind was strong. It made good football difficult but we produced three passages of excellent play which got us three goals.

“I was upset that we conceded a goal, which was a bad mistake as we switched off as a team. All in all, 3-1 in a derby away from home is a good result.”

The win catapulted Amakhosi to second position in the DStv Premiership standings, with their chances of mounting a title challenge looking increasingly valid. They are on 22 points after 12 games – eight behind current leaders Mamelodi Sundowns. It will be interesting to see if Amakhosi can keep up and give Masandawana a real run for their money. Many seem to believe, however, that the Chloorkop side are already well on their way to clinching a fifth consecutive league title.

Amakhosi’s next assignment is a tricky game against an inconsistent Cape Town City on Saturday.