Chiefs coach Baxter: ‘Every coach in world football has to pay attention to transitions’

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter.
Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Transition football is part of the modern game and any coach in the world needs to be aware of it‚ said new Kaizer Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter.

Baxter’s “transition football” when he has been coach of Bafana Bafana and Chiefs has often been a griping point for SA football fans‚ whose preference is for more “tiki-taka”‚ soft-passing‚ skills-based build-ups that are in keeping with the traditions of the game in the country.

Baxter said concentrating on transitions will unapologetically be a key aspect during his second stint back at Chiefs. The Englishman/Scot’s new tenure begins in earnest when Amakhosi kick off their 2021-22 season against DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 quarterfinals on the weekend of August 14.

This weekend Amakhosi meet Orlando Pirates in the gimmicky Carling Black Label Cup pre-season match-up‚ where line-ups are voted for by the fans‚ at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.

“Transitions is an important element. It isn’t the only element in football but it’s an important one. If you can dominate that then you can very much dominate the game‚” Baxter said.

“Now the modern game is not only about transitions‚ but every team plays on transitions.

“You’re not a ‘transition coach’ because you pay attention to transitions. Every team plays on transitions because when you lose the ball it’s a transition to defence‚ when you win the ball it’s a transition to attack.

“Every coach in world football has to pay attention to that. How much attention you pay is up to the individual coach. So is how you integrate that into your bigger picture.

“But to say somebody is a transition coach or not a transition coach is nonsense because it’s like saying‚ ‘This coach doesn’t like to kick the ball‚ or doesn’t like heading the ball’. It’s all a part of the game.

“We will have all the ingredients of modern football in our game. But we will certainly pay attention to our transitions as before.”

Baxter was appointed after Chiefs‚ following Gavin Hunt’s dismissal‚ scrambled eighth place in the Premiership with two wins at the end under caretaker-coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard.

He was in the stands when the club beat Wydad Casablanca 1-0 in aggregate in the Caf Champions League semifinals. Baxter’s first match back on the bench was the 10-man 3-0 defeat to Al Ahly in the final.

He has been tasked with ending Chiefs’ unprecedented six-season trophy drought‚ which dates back to his previous stint at the Soweto giants‚ who Baxter steered to two league and cup doubles in three seasons in 2012-13 and 2014-15.