’Stellenbosch loss won’t affect Soweto derby at all’, says Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter

Arthur Zwane, Dillon Sheppard and Stuart Baxter, coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership 2021/22 football match against Stellenbosch. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Arthur Zwane, Dillon Sheppard and Stuart Baxter, coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership 2021/22 football match against Stellenbosch. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Published Nov 3, 2021


Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs’ coach Stuart Baxter suggests that “the derby has its own life”, and that’s why their clash against Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates on Saturday afternoon will not be affected by their respective defeat in the league on Tuesday.

After appearing to turn the tide, having won two games on the trot, Chiefs were given a reality check by Stellenbosch on Tuesday. An Ashley Du Preez thunderbolt late in the first half ensured that Stellies claimd all the spoils at FNB Stadium.

Meanwhile, later in the day, Pirates returned to winning ways in domestic football after drawing their last four games. They came-from-behind to beat Sekhukhune United 2-1, thanks to goals from Linda Mntambo and substitute Kabelo Dlamini.

“It (the loss) doesn’t affect the derby at all. I think lose or draw, the derby has its own life. That’s my experience from the derbies. So now we have a couple of days to refresh and put together a game-plan for Pirates,” Baxter said after the game.

“We certainly didn’t try to get one eye on Pirates and the other one on Stellenbosch. That would have been suicidal. We tried to give this match all the attention. We’ll also do the same: give the Pirates game (on Saturday) all the attention.”

ALSO READ: Reality check for Kaizer Chiefs as Stellenbosch FC claim all three points in FNB Stadium clash

With Pirates sixth on the standings, a position and two points ahead of Chiefs, their encounter could be decided by the tightest of margins - especially with the two teams having similar problems. They are missing key players up front due to injuries.

And that’s why with the right quality up front or a natural No. 9 – such as Samir Nurkovic or Leonardo Castro – the 68-year-old Brit-born coach believes that the reflection of the game against Stellies would have shown something else altogether.

“I think when you talk about the balance of the game, we prepared for the fact that they were going to play with three centre-backs and defend a little bit deeper. I think they played with one man there (up front) and quickly off him,” Baxter said.

“They had (Junior) Mendieta wandering around Du Preez. So it wasn’t totally different from how we envisioned it. I don’t think our shifting at the back wasn’t there due to speed or quality. We didn’t move their defenders. We needed more quality.”

ALSO READ: Time for Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates to light Soweto Derby fire in the belly

Chiefs, though, will be pleased that some of their players, such as Keagan Dolly, are on form. The 28-year-old has been involved in six goals in their last four matches, while his form was rewarded with a Bafana call-up by coach Hugo Broos.

Bafana will play two crucial FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Zimbabwe and Ghana next week. They’ll need four points from those games in order to progress to the play-offs. But Dolly will be eager to star in his first derby before assembling for camp.

“With Keagan, I think it’s warranted (that he’s been recalled to Bafana). He’s been excellent. He’s worked very hard and I think that has shown since he came back from France,” explained Baxter who also coached Dolly at Bafana before.

“He’s got a little bit of experience. I think he’s come back and showed everybody how clever he is. He’s put in a serious shift as well. The stats show exactly that. And I think that’s something that has been in the thoughts of Hugo.”


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