Baxter: Kaizer Chiefs ‘can make some noise’ ahead of AmaZulu clash
Stuart Baxter has said what he saw in organisation and mental strength from his players in a 1-0 away win against Maritzburg United has given Kaizer Chiefs something to shout about ahead of their next game against AmaZulu.
Amakhosi coach Baxter admitted it was far from champagne football as his team toughed out a DStv Premiership win at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.
But Chiefs’ dedication to the cause in grinding out a result had echoes of the efficient combinations with which Baxter won two league titles in three years in his previous stint at the Soweto giants.
This pleased Baxter to the extent that he said his new-look Chiefs — stabilising from a rocky start to 2021-22 with one defeat in seven league matches, and four wins from their last five — can take a measure of confidence into their meeting with eighth-placed AmaZulu at FNB Stadium on Wednesday.
“The organisation, the pressing, the shape, the attention to our set plays, I think those were as good as we’ve seen them,” Baxter said after Chiefs notched only their fifth win in 15 outings at Harry Gwala.
“Now I would like to add our passing and play in the final third, and for that to also be as good as we’ve seen before.
“You can’t get much better, and [the goal] from a set play. We were talking about playing away from home and what we needed to do to get three points, and everything that we spoke about we did better.
“So, without playing that sort of champagne football it was a game that we did a very good job on.”
Baxter said the return from the Fifa international break, which was preceded by Chiefs’ 2-1 derby win against Orlando Pirates, and then the delay to the start of the match because of floodlights failing, were all factors his players had to overcome mentally against Maritzburg.
“It would have been very easy to capitulate against Maritzburg, where you’re coming off a win against Pirates and you’re patting yourself on the back, and you have a long break, and then the lights go before the game. Those are mental issues that the lads should get a pat on the back for solving.
“I was just delighted and now we can go into the next game making a bit of a noise.”
AmaZulu, last season’s runners-up, have battled in coach Benni McCarthy’s second season at the club, and have three wins from 11 league matches in 2021-22.