Kaizer Chiefs confirmed late on Thursday that head coach Stuart Baxter has left the club.
“After a series of meetings, Kaizer Chiefs and coach Stuart Baxter have come to a mutual agreement of an early termination of his contract with immediate effect,” said Chiefs in a statement.
Baxter, 68, was under pressure after a poor season on his return for a second spell at Amakhosi. Chiefs are set to end the campaign trophy-less, and currently sit 18 points behind Mamelodi Sundowns in the DStv Premiership title race.
In a short statement published on their website, Chiefs added that Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard would take charge of the team in a caretaker capacity until the end of this season.
“Assistant coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard will take charge of the senior team for the remainder of the season, starting with the next match against Stellenbosch FC on Saturday, 23 April 2022,” read the statement.
Baxter’s first spell at Chiefs was a huge success, despite controversy over his appointment, which came several years after a mixed time at the helm of Bafana Bafana.
He won the DStv Premiership title in his first season with Amakhosi, as well as the Nedbank Cup and won the league again in the 2014/15 campaign, along with the MTN8. Baxter left Chiefs at the end of that season, but that was of his own volition.
This time it seems likely he has been shown the door, whatever Chiefs say publicly, after failing to rekindle the magic he brought to his first spell. Chiefs have never really got going all season, and the 1-0 loss at home to SuperSport on April 16, ironically the first time in over two years Chiefs have been able to play in the Premiership in front of their own fans, appears to have been the final straw.
Baxter did seem to be in a defiant mood in the face of supporter pressure after that game, though at the same time he laid out the reasons he would leave.
“If the chairman says to me, ‘Stuart I don’t think you’re doing a good job’, then I’ll walk. I’ve got no problem doing that,” said Baxter at the post match press conference.
“I will walk myself if I don’t think I’m affecting the team in a positive way. I’ll walk, not a problem.
“I’m the only coach that has given this club any success in the last 20 years, but I’ve got to go because we dominate the game and lose 1-0? I’ve got to listen to that?
“They are the fans; they have the right to say exactly what they want. If that reflects what the chairman thinks, what the players think and the majority of our fans think, then maybe I should walk…”