Kaizer backs Baxter
Club boss pours cold water on claims over coach
KAIZER Motaung yesterday threw his full weight behind new Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter despite allegations of irregularities with the Englishman’s CV.
Baxter, a former Bafana Bafana coach, was handed the Chiefs coaching job last week and will begin work in the new season. However, reports emerged at the weekend that there were unexplained “successes” in the coach’s curriculum vitae since his departure from the Bafana job.
Motaung yesterday defended his man, to whom he has awarded a two-year contract with an option to renew. The Chiefs chairman explained away the new coach’s assertion that he had won a title with “in his mind, perhaps winning promotion in Japan is [like] winning the title”.
Baxter says in his CV that he had won the championship in Japan in 2006 and had also taken Swedish club Helsingborgs to the last 16 of the Europa League.
But the coach had in fact helped Vissel Kobe to promotion into the Japanese Premier Division by way of a playoff and made it to the last 32 – not 16 – of the Europa League with the Swedish club.
“Mistakes always happen when people talk,” said Motaung. “Sometimes you might say something out of turn and I think that is what happened with the coach. When these things happen they might be blown out of proportion.”
Chiefs fans had already reacted with anger on social networks to Baxter’s appointment. Then news that he could have embellished his CV heightened their dissatisfaction.
“I’m not surprised that there’s negativity around hiring a new coach. There will always be mixed feelings about employing a new coach, even if we hired (Jose) Mourinho tomorrow, people will ask what does Mourinho know about football in South Africa,” said Motaung.
He said Baxter had been given a mandate for the next two seasons: to win the Absa Premiership, which has eluded Chiefs for the past seven years.
“There are people who will question our wisdom regarding this decision. I have checked his (Baxter) credentials and I believe he has the ability to put a team together that can win the league.”
He said hiring Baxter, who was not the first choice for the job, was not a mistake.
It emerged yesterday that Steve Komphela had “over-committed” by accepting the Bafana assistant job.
“We looked at a local coach but I can safely say he over-committed ... and that ruled him out from this job,” said Motaung about the Chief coaching position.
“There was a possibility of him becoming our coach, but with his situation, it became impossible.”
Motaung criticised previous foreign coaches for not leaving their mark and said Baxter would be different. “We looked at his work in the youth structures and we are confident that he will leave some legacy,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Chiefs striker David Obua will assess his options in Europe before making a decision on whether to return to the PSL.
The Ugandan will be released by Scottish side Hearts after they decided against renewing his contract after four years at the club.
He has subsequently been linked in the local press with a return to the PSL.
Obua has not played for Hearts since February and is unlikely to feature in the Scottish Cup final against Edinburgh rivals Hibernian on Saturday.
He spoke last year of his desire to return to South Africa before the end of his career, but although that remains a distinct possibility, he would like to prolong his stay in Europe first.
“We’re looking for opportunities in Europe and Asia for David and we are not aware of any interest from South Africa,” his Germanbased agents said.
“He would like to stay in Europe and we will see what opportunities there are before we look elsewhere.”