Still early to declare Downs league winners, says Baxter

Chiefs coach says Amakhosi are challenging Brazilians for the title

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Stuart Baxter, head coach of Kaizer Chiefs.
Stuart Baxter, head coach of Kaizer Chiefs.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs mentor Stuart Baxter has scoffed at talks that Mamelodi Sundowns have already run away with the league title, insisting it’s still too early.

Unbeaten Sundowns, who are yet to concede a goal in the league, sit comfortably at the summit of the log with 25 points, 10 ahead of sixth-placed Chiefs, after nine games. Chiefs have played a game more. Downs’ total dominance has left many convinced they won’t be toppled. The Brazilians have gone 20 games without defeat in all competitions, having last lost to Al Ahly in the quarterfinals of the CAF Champions League in May.

But Baxter refuses to give up on the league title. The Amakhosi mentor has made it clear that they intend to challenge the Tshwane giants, adding even Sundowns themselves won’t agree with the notion that they’ve already sealed the deal.

“Not at all, not at all. If you put that to them now... they’d probably laugh at you. We have to knock them off their perch,” Baxter insisted.

“I think what we find in the league is that even though new teams, let’s say new names appear [in the title race] it doesn’t mean that’s a small team. We’re a new team.”

Baxter admitted that doing brilliantly early in the season has taken the pressure off Sundowns, who’ve won the last four league titles. The former Bafana Bafana trainer feels the title race will eventually heat up.

“There are still some other good teams who’re competitive, hence it won’t be easy to say they [Sundowns] are already gone with it.”

Amakhosi travel to KwaZulu-Natal to take on Ernst Middendorp’s Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday at 5.30pm.

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