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Clubs need balanced squads to compete, says Kaizer Chiefs' coach Stuart Baxter

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter

FILE - Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Apr 13, 2022

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Johannesburg — Kaizer Chiefs' coach Stuart Baxter says clubs need balanced squads in order to ensure that they churn out the much-needed results week in and week out.

This week, SuperSport United’s coach Kaitano became the latest casualty of the season as he was released by the club following a string of poor results in domestic football.

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However, there are experts in the football fraternity who feel that Tembo was sabotaged by the management after senior players left the club, including former captains Dean Furman and Clayton Daniels, and were not replaced by equally experienced campaigners.

That feat forced Tembo to tap into youngsters. Some, such as Jamie Webber, Luke Fleurs and Jesse Donn, took the responsibility on the chin. However, others, like Thalente Mbatha, Gapo Moralo and Keagan Johannes, blew hot and cold.

SuperSport, who are eighth on the log standings with 31 points, one adrift of the ninth placed Golden Arrows, will start life without Tembo against Chiefs at the FNB Stadium on Saturday. His former assistant Andre Arendse is set to succeed him on an interim basis.

Having worked with Tembo as his assistant at the Tshwane-based club before, Baxter feels that it was unfair of the club to expect the former to develop players while continuing to be competitive on all fronts.

“You are just talking about a coach that has just been sacked. Whether you are talking about the policy of selecting youngsters for development, then it needs to be backed by the club,” Baxter said.

“Development then takes the place of winning games. It’s a utopia if anybody thinks that you can throw in as many youngsters and then in someway the winning energy develops. There’s got to be a balance.”

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Baxter has also come under criticism for overlooking youngsters, such as Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, this season. But the Brit says they are looking to integrate more players into the team going forward.

“We’ve been discussing that. It’s been a hot topic here at the club. We certainly want to be profiling some young players and whenever we think it’s possible, we are definitely going to be doing that (throw them in the deep end,” Baxter said.

In the midst of sticking to his usual guns, the ‘more experienced players’, Chiefs have blown hot and cold under Baxter in his second spell at the club.

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So much so that after weeks of keeping a positive front, Baxter finally conceded that they’ve lost out on the title to the four-time champions Mamelodi Sundowns whom they trail by 18 points.

“We’ve completely blown our chances of putting a great pressure on Sundowns. They’ve done a fantastic job this year. I think the rest of us are playing for the following places,” Baxter said.

Asked whether they’ll give them a guard on Chiefs if they visit the FNB having already been crowned champions by May 8, Baxter said: “With that said, if they come to us as champions, we’ll afford them every respect a professional should afford to each other.”

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Chiefs have three games in hand compared to Sundowns. But there are no guarantees they’ll win those games, let alone play them given that the fate of the two games they forfeited, due to the outbreak of Covid-19 at their base, is still up in the air.

@Mihlalibaleka

IOL Sport

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