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Stuart Baxter is keen to ’knock Mamelodi Sundowns off their perch’

Stuart Baxter coach of Kaizer Chiefs. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackapagePix

Stuart Baxter coach of Kaizer Chiefs. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackapagePix

Published Aug 12, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter is optimistic about his team’s chances of chasing for top honours in the upcoming campaign, saying they’ll work tirelessly to ensure that they knock Mamelodi Sundowns off their perch.

For almost a decade, Sundowns have been the team to beat in domestic football, having amassed 12 trophies, including four titles in the last four seasons. Chiefs, meanwhile, have failed to win a single title for the last six seasons.

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As a result, at the end of last season, they rehired the last coach who won them silverware in 2015: Baxter. The Brit has, already, sat on the bench for his first match in charge since he’s return, coaching the team in the final of the Champions League.

Chiefs lost that match to record 10-time champions Al Ahly. But Baxter will get a chance to start the campaign with the team when they travel to Tshwane on Sunday to face Sundowns in the quarter-finals of the MTN8.

This is almost a déjà vu encounter for Baxter, given the fact that this fixture was also his first game in charge during his first stint. He lost that match but still inspired Chiefs to a double that season, winning the league title and Nedbank Cup.

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But with the script still the same having to lead the team to glory - and with a slight change in the cast - as there are players from his first stint with a mix of newbies - Baxter is confident that they will be a force to be reckoned with this term.

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“Chiefs-Sundowns is always a big game. Sundowns are a team that has set the benchmark for some time. But it’s up to everybody else in the chasing pack to, in the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, knock them off their perch,” he said.

“I would like to think that we are going to be in the chasing pack. I’d like to think that we can have a little bit of a say of where the trophy will go at the end of the season. It’s early days for us as a team – in terms of the development of the squad.

“The gap has increased. I think there’s been a few reasons that Chiefs have been away from that benchmark,” Baxter said.

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