Baxter looks for positives in performance against Downs

Coach feels defender Dube will only get better

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Keegan Dolly of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Peter Shalulile of Mamelodi Sundowns during the DStv Premiership 2021/22 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria, on 13 September 2021.
Keegan Dolly of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Peter Shalulile of Mamelodi Sundowns during the DStv Premiership 2021/22 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria, on 13 September 2021.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

While conceding that their defending was unconvincing when they lost to Mamelodi Sundowns at the weekend, Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter still rated Amakhosi’s display as the best against the Tshwane giants since he has been coach.

Sundowns prevailed via goals from Grant Kekana and Peter Shalulile, while Lebogang Manyama, who replaced Sifiso Hlanti in the 74th minute, missed a penalty that would have perhaps brought Chiefs back into the game at Loftus Versfeld.

“I don’t think I have ever been in a game against Sundowns where we’ve been as well in the game and as dominant as we were at times this evening [on Sunday]. I thought we opened the game very, very well,” said Baxter.

“The goal came basically out of the blue... it was their first real chance and it was a piece of miserable defending from our back lads. The second goal killed the game. I am pleased with the performance, not pleased with the result obviously and I am certainly not pleased with giving away two very poor goals.”

Starting his maiden official game in Chiefs colours, new centre-back Austin Dube, 28, was Chiefs’ closest defender to the Downs players both times they conceded. Baxter is of the view Dube will use his shortcomings against the Brazilians as lessons to improve on. Chiefs' next game is at home to Royal AM on Saturday.

“I think he [Dube] did well in patches but Austin is going to be a good player. I think this is a baptism of fire tonight, he’s got Sundowns that have tactically good players... they made things difficult for him. At times he showed he’s going to be a decent player for us,” said Baxter.

The Chiefs mentor also weighed in on Manyama’s missed spot-kick, confirming the attacking midfielder, who was featuring for the first time this term after recovering from an unspecified injury, isn’t one of the side’s designated penalty takers.

“We have four or five penalty takers. When they're on the field and they say they don't want to take it, I've got little control where that responsibility goes,” Baxter clarified.

“If it was me and I was on the field, if I were one of the players, I would have pushed Lebo away because he's only just back at his first game from injury.”

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.