Stuart Baxter is hoping that Kaizer Chiefs’ current roll of form does not end with a “slit throat” but right now all is more than rosy down Amakhosi way.
Chiefs travel to Maritzburg United tomorrow night sitting pretty atop the Absa Premiership, and looking for a 10th league victory on the trot. And they do so on the back of a comfortable Champions League debut at FNB Stadium on Saturday night, where an under-strength and below-par Chiefs still had more than enough in the tank to cruise to a 3-0 win over Namibian amateur side Black Africa.
“I think Buddha said that success is like licking honey from a sword. The more you lick it, the closer you get to the day you cut your throat. I hope that day is about three months away … we will do our best,” said the Chiefs coach.
Amakhosi can certainly head into the United game with passage to the next round of Champions League all but secure.
Chiefs were not at their best against Black Africa, but cruised past the Namibian amateur outfit. Mandla Masango and Kingston Nkhatha gave Amakhosi a two-goal lead before the break, while the latter surely killed off any slim hope the Windhoek side might have had, with a third five minutes from time.
In truth, Chiefs might have had a barrel-load more with better finishing and more composure in the final third, and Baxter at times cut a frustrated figure on the touchline.
“I am a very performance-based coach,” he said afterwards.
“I think at times if the team play well and lose I can accept it, and if we win and have not performed as I would like, I can get quite irate to say the least. I would have liked us to perform better in certain areas, certainly in terms of taking our chances.
“But, on the other hand, you would take a 3-0 win in your home game in every leg. It gives us something to defend (in Windhoek) without having to park the bus. We can go out and play our normal game.”
Baxter was also able to achieve this result while resting four of his regular starters, with stars Siphiwe Tshabalala, Bernard Parker, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Willard Katsande all starting the game on the bench.
“I am pleased we got a chance to rotate a good number of players and save some legs for upcoming games and got some minutes into the legs of the players we brought in,” said Baxter.
One man who could make his debut against Maritzburg United, meanwhile, is new striker Katlego Mphela, though it is likely it will only be from the bench.
“Katlego has trained and is working hard, and feels he has a bit more to come,” said Baxter.
“I will be speaking to our physios, and asking if he is at full speed, endurance and sharpness.
“Based on that I would like to bring him in as soon as possible, but he won’t be starting until he is 100percent. He does look sharper than I thought he would.” - The Star