Durban — The problems affecting fallen English giants Manchester United and fallen South African football giants Kaizer Chiefs are very similar.
Both clubs have struggled to find an identity and glory for the best part of the last ten years.
Some will say that the problems are coaching related and while this may be true to an extent, it is far from the truth totally. In the case of United, the club has struggled to find consistency since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. In the case of Chiefs, they’ve not done so since Baxter’s first stint with them ended in 2015.
Both clubs have not made tough calls on so-called star players. In United’s case, they have held onto players like Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard for years amidst the duo continuing to command high salaries while having no specific role in the team. In Chiefs’ case, they have held onto goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune despite the local legend being a shadow of his former self. Khune is taking up a space that could be given to a younger and hungrier talent and he could still add value to another club.
One of the reasons that Manchester United were so successful under Ferguson was because United under his leadership never hesitated to make big and tough calls on star players. Ferguson even went to the extent of sanctioning a transfer for prime David Beckham to Real Madrid in 2003.
Baxter has got his tactics wrong at times this season but he is not totally responsible for the club’s woes. Chiefs have had a few coaches since the Englishman left the post for the first time and they did not do much better than he is doing, some like Giovanni Solinas and Gavin Hunt did worse than how Baxter is currently doing.
A reason why Chiefs and United are both struggling is because they are showing so-called star names too much respect. If Chiefs were keen on continuity and growth, they would offload Khune and rather reinvest fees into developing other areas of their squad.
Some might say that the 91 times capped Bafana Bafana international is still a good source of leadership and guidance to younger players and while this is true, Daniel Akpeyi who fully deserves his place in the team can also do the same thing.
If Chiefs want to grow and develop, they need to invest in youngsters and accept the reality that it will take them a few years to get on par with Sundowns. Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp did not transform Manchester City and Liverpool into Premier League winning sides overnight. In the case of Guardiola, it took him a year and in the case of Klopp, it took him several years.