Kaizer Chiefs celebrate scoring against Maritzburg United. Photo: Rogan Ward/BackpagePix
Kaizer Chiefs celebrate scoring against Maritzburg United. Photo: Rogan Ward/BackpagePix

Stuart Baxter happy with how Kaizer Chiefs overcame ’mental issues’ to get a win over Maritzburg United

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Nov 22, 2021

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Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter believes his team overcame plenty of "mental issues" to beat Maritzburg United on Sunday.

Veteran striker Bernard Parker's brilliant diving header separated the teams at the Harry Gwala Stadium, but only after the start of the game was delayed by 90 minutes due to a power failure.

Both teams were required to warm-up on three different occasions, while Chiefs also needed to put their Soweto derby victory over Orlando Pirates prior to the international break behind them.

"It was really difficult with the delays and sitting around in dressing rooms. Three different warm ups and getting food to the players so that the energy levels don't go down," Baxter said.

"Fifa breaks are also always difficult. We come off a win against Pirates and there were loads of mental issues the boys had to deal with. The boys worked very very hard. It's difficult coming off a break. You've got people coming back. Are they up to speed? Are they mentally down off their national games which are always a high? Are they down and their feet on the ground? And I thought they were. It's a very difficult place for Chiefs to come. You ask any Kaizer Chiefs coach. And I'm happy we came away with the three points."

Baxter was certainly delighted with his team's performance on the road in achieving the Amakhosi's fourth win from five league matches.

Equally, he was pleased that Colombian striker Leonardo Castro finally made it on to the park after a long injury lay off.

"I thought the first 20 minutes was okay in terms of our passing and receiving and running behind their backline. I thought it was quite comfortable. We had a massive chance to go in front but then the next 25 was passive from our side. We weren't as brave with the ball or with our pressing," he said.

"They got back into the game and you realize Maritzburg in Maritzburg is a difficult game. We changed at halftime. I asked the players to be braver and press higher, and to move the backline quicker. I thought the second half was very comfortable and if I look back at it I cant remember being nervous.

"It was nice to see us a scoring a goal from set play. We managed it quite well. It was nice to see Castro back on the field. He is not ready by a long way yet but I am hoping to give some 10 minutes to see how he goes. So without playing that sort of champagne football, it was a game we did a very good job," he added.

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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