fast little loans
Johannesburg – Stuart Baxter has called on Kaizer Chiefs to keep their focus as they head to Cape Town on Wednesday evening to face Chippa United, with the Soweto derby looming large on the horizon.
The Amakhosi and the Buccaneers will resume their intense rivalry on Saturday afternoon, but both first have midweek hurdles to overcome, with Pirates at home to Bloemfontein Celtic. Too often in the past, Chiefs and Pirates have lost focus, and slipped up in the games right before such a grand occasion.
The Amakhosi’s situation comes even more intensely under the magnifying glass, after they played out a disappointing draw with Bidvest Wits on Saturday night, passing up an opportunity to pull well clear at the top of the table.
Baxter, for one, knows all about losing focus ahead of a big game.
“I remember when I was coach at AIK Stockholm,” he said.
“And we were playing a Champions League game against Barcelona. We lost the league game beforehand 1-0 – I think we were seven points clear at the top of the league at that stage.
“I will be very disappointed after the game this evening, if we (Chiefs) don’t make sure we get ourselves mentally prepared for the game (against Chippa) and go down there and give a good performance.”
The Chiefs coach was critical of his team’s performance against Wits, where they never really got going until the final 15 minutes. The Clever Boys took the lead through Ryan Chapman’s header, while Siphiwe Tshabalala levelled before the break.
But Chiefs, even with a change of formation, could not find the winner. Baxter started the game by repeating the 3-5-2 formation that had proved so successful against Wits in the Nedbank Cup, Chiefs winning 3-0 in Nelpsruit just seven days earlier.
But it backfired here, with Baxter reverting to a more typical 4-4-2 at half-time.
“We could have done a lot better in the first 45 minutes,” said Baxter.
“Wits were playing and we weren’t in it at all. Maybe it is difficult playing the same team in two competitions and maybe some of the lads were flat.
“Maybe Wits were keeping the ball and we were not aggressive enough to get it back. We played only in patches and it was a bit frustrating, we changed it at half-time, and the only thing that was better in the second half was the spirit – to go hunting the ball and try and knock Wits off their rhythm.
“In the last 15 minutes with our intensity, we could have sneaked it. But I am not sure it would have been a totally just result.
“Wits deserve a bit of credit and the players also need to learn a lesson from the game. You can’t just turn it on and then turn it off.
“We need to start the next game as we want to go on.”
Leftback Tsepo Masilela limped out of the game with a leg muscle injury, and Baxter admitted he was a doubt to face Chippa.
“As with many injuries it is a bit early to say,” he said.
“It is a muscle injury and we don’t know what the extent of the bleeding is. He is probably touch and go for Cape Town, but we’ll see.”
Baxter continues to express his concern, meanwhile, about the FNB Stadium pitch, which will come under scrutiny again in Saturday’s derby.
“I don’t think it is good to play any game on a poor pitch and my views on the way pitches have been dealt with have been well documented.
“After this poor performance I am not going to complain about the pitch, it was the same for both teams.
“But in a broader perspective I do not think it is very good for South African football to play a showpiece game on a poor surface.
“South African football has to prepare better pitches so we can produce better players and give a better product.”
Wits coach Clive Barker was understandably far more positive about a point gained for his side.
“It was a wonderful pitch and a wonderful result. I haven’t had so much press here since Bafana Bafana,” he quipped.
Barker made six changes to his side for Saturday’s game and admitted he is still working out what his best Wits side is.
“That sums it up,” he said.
“We made a couple of changes that were forced by injury and a couple of players didn’t come to the party (in the cup defeat), that is why we made changes. All credit to the players who went out there.”
Barker praised his goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane and Burundian midfielder Papy Faty.
“I thought our ’keeper was honest and tough,” he said.
“I thought he (Faty) had a wonderful game, he got involved, won every tackle and was skilful on the ball. He is a nice player and I was delighted to give him an opportunity. He missed the first couple of games when I got here and he looks a useful player in the middle of the park.” – The Star