JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs’ coach Stuart Baxter conceded that his team's performance in the dying minutes of their 4-1 shocking defeat to Royal AM was “embarrassing”, while he lamented his poor decision making and mistakes on the day.
After suffering a 2-0 defeat to the champions Mamelodi Sundowns away from home last weekend, Chiefs were expected to bounce back against Royal AM at FNB Stadium on Saturday. But that wasn’t to be as they were terribly embarrassed.
Amakhosi dominated early on, but they were not clinical enough. As a result, that came back to haunt them as Victor Letsoalo pounced after some poor defending. Letsoalo doubled his team tally with a brilliant free-kick in the second half.
Chiefs appeared to have clawed their way back into the game after Sifiso Hlanti pulled one back from a set-piece. But towards the dying minutes of the game, Chiefs lost their rearguard at the back. Sibusiso Mabiliso conceded an own goal.
In stoppage time, a Chiefs’ corner-kick, which saw them push more men forward, was turned over into a counter-attack by the visitors. And that’s when substitute Mfundo Thikazi put the final nail in the coffin as the visitors claimed all three points.
“The last 10 minutes of the game were quite embarrassing and we need to apologise to our supporters,” Baxter said in his post-match press conference at the Calabash. “What started as a good night turned into a very cruel one on our side.”
He added: “We had to change. So, we got back into a back-four. Maybe that made it a little bit more complicated for the players. I don’t know. But the decision making, the nervousness, lack of quality and naivety made it difficult to come back.”
“It’s not only a hard defeat. It’s embarrassing. The naivety of the players once went behind is astounding.”— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) September 18, 2021
Stuart Baxter reflects on a tough outing against Royal AM and apologises to the fans for the loss. #DStvPrem
After enduring a six-year trophy-less run, Chiefs are supposed to turn over a new leaf this term, amid the signings that they’ve made. But it seems that it will be a while before they run like a well-oiled machine as they are yet to gel together as a team.
“When you are in the situation that we are trying to put together: different sources of strategies, operations and structures, a 4-1 (loss) is not the desired result. We chased the game. I made poor decisions and mistakes,” Baxter explained.
“The reason we made it 4-1 (is probably on me). If we had just made it tightly and kept playing, maybe we made it 2-1, and people won’t be crying so much. But we can’t do that. We’ve got to go and try to win the game and get back into it.”