Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter says the ease of his team’s 3-0 thrashing of Platinum Stars in the MTN8 semi-final second leg on Sunday should be kept in context. “We knew what sort of game it was going to be. The opening is very tense and your opponent is going to come and it turns it into a nervy affair. The players went out to try and win the game, not just sit there. The free kick that George Maluleka put in was worth waiting for and after that the game welt like it was under control. After that they had to push forward and throw caution to the wind and that opened it up for us,” said Baxter in the aftermath of his side’s sixth straight victory of the new season.
The Briton said the FNB Stadium clash was made easier to dominate because Amakhosi were already 2-0 up from the first leg. However Baxter says he demands a good performance first from his players before he wants results. The latter he says will come as a result of the former.
Baxter was equally happy with the return of talismanic midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala who is back after taking a pre-season knock. “Shabba is obviously very important for us. Shabba was happy to be on the bench today. I don’t think he thought in his wildest dreams he would just walk back into the team. He worked hard at training and I’m very pleased he has some minutes under his belt.”
Chiefs and Dikwena will meet again in the league on Wednesday and Stars coach Allan Freese says it is back to the drawing board for his troops. “We’ve got to go back and say the cup game is finished now. We’re out of that. The time to change the mindset is also difficult. Do we change the whole way we play? We’ve got to sit and think properly. We’ll go back and we’ll sit down and look at how we’ll approach the league game,” said Freese, who was also full of praise for man of the match Reneilwe Letsholonyane. Freese said, “I think we didn’t defend well. There were too many gaps in the midfield. Reneilwe Letsholonyane ran from his big box into our big box without being touched.”
Letsholonyane was happy to win the award but was humble in his acceptance of the man of the match accolade, “It’s a team effort. We work as a team at Kaizer Chiefs. As individuals to show our talent it is dependent on our teammates and what we do at training we were able to show off.” Yeye, as he is popularly known, is unlikely to be joined by any new teammates with the PSL transfer window preparing to shut on Friday at 17:00. Coach Baxter lamented the loss of Knowledge Musona but says it is not just about making signings, “Together with the club we work within a budget and the Knowledge deal didn’t happen the way we wanted and it was becoming more expensive as it dragged on. You have to ask yourself if it’s good business. I accept whatever the club decides to do. I do think it’s important we have players like Yeye who want to be at Kaizer Chiefs. If somewhere in the deal there’s not that commitment then the club should take that into account. If we get something we like at the right price then I’m sure we’ll go for it.”
Freese has three days turnaround time before he meets Baxter again in an Absa Premiership clash but this time Stars will enjoy the home comforts of the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.