Sunday World

Fans blame Baxter for Al Ahly beating in CAF final

Amakhosi suffered 3-0 defeat at the hands of Egyptians

- By Xolile Mtshazo

Kaizer Chiefs die-hard supporters have put the blame squarely at the door of returnee coach Stuart Baxter following the embarrassi­ng 3-0 defeat at the hands of Egypt’s football powerhouse Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League final last Saturday.

Baxter, 67, returned to Naturena after signing a two-year contract since the sacking of Gavin Hunt towards the end of last season but a delay in his work permit prevented him from immediatel­y occupying the Chiefs hot seat.

Baxter was the last coach to win silverware for Amakhosi during his first stint from 2013 to 2015, winning two league titles and cup doubles in three seasons, including the 2013 Nedbank Cup and 2014 MTN8, from 2013 to 2015.

Chiefs’ assistants Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard were retained in the new technical team and the duo unbelievab­ly took the Soweto Glamour Boys to the African Champions League final.

The Amakhosi faithful are of the view that Baxter should not have occupied the dugout, or be allowed anywhere near the team, as he was not part of the tough two-legged knockout rounds, but Zwane and Sheppard had to lead the team against the now 10-time Champions League champions Al Ahly.

Venting their anger against the Chiefs management’s decision to give the former Bafana Bafana mentor free reign on the touchline for the continent’s premier competitio­n final, the angry supporters blamed Baxter for denying them African glory.

Chiefs, renowned as the club with the biggest fan-base in the PSL, had their supporters tearing into Baxter for stealing the big stage thunder from Zwane on the 51-year-old club’s official Twitter account @Kaizerchie­fs.

Even fellow finalists Al Ahly’s SA coach Pitso Mosimane weighed in, saying Zwane should have been in charge of the final.

“For me we must also respect coach Gavin Hunt because he doesn’t get credit for bringing the team to the semi-finals. Credit must go to coach Arthur Zwane and his assistant ‘Sheppy’ [Sheppard for qualifying or the final]. Also credit to Stuart [Baxter] because I know he’s been behind the scenes and helping them, we have to give respect,” Mosimane said.

Among the glaring errors Baxter made was to continue with his defensive approach, defender Happy Mashiane, who was sent off at the stroke of half-time, and Nkosingiph­ile Ngcobo, were both played on the right flank, the latter being played out of position as he is a midfielder not a winger.

Baxter left experience­d players like Siphosakhe Ntiya Ntiya, Siyabonga Ngezana, Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro on the bench.

Chiefs communicat­ions manager Vina Maphosa dismissed the supporters’ complaints. “We have provided coach [Baxter] for post-match interviews already and we have moved on preparing for pre-season,” he said when Sunday World requested an interview with Baxter.

That’s why he (Lebo Morake) always breaks down and cries every time he talks about Thembaleth­u

 ?? /Gallo Images ?? Stuart Baxter is blamed for Chiefs’ defeat
/Gallo Images Stuart Baxter is blamed for Chiefs’ defeat
 ?? /facebook ?? Chiefs assistant coach Arthur Zwane
/facebook Chiefs assistant coach Arthur Zwane

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