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5 Reasons why Stuart Baxter is failing at Kaizer Chiefs

Here are 5 reasons why Baxter is struggling this time around at Kaizer Chiefs.

ed897833 bafana bafana coach stuart baxter
Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Stuart Baxter had a very successful first stint when he was in charge of Amakhosi between 2012 and 2015, winning the league twice while also adding the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup to his haul, also finishing a close second to Mamelodi Sundowns.

However, things haven’t been as smooth second time around for the British gaffer. His second stint has short of disastrous, though.

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Here are 5 reasons why Baxter is struggling this time around

Cardoso and Mathoho partnership

The defensive duo of Daniel Cardoso and Eric Mathoho has never worked and will never work. Kaizer Chiefs have been leaking goals since the days of Gavin Hunt but he too persisted with the partnership and only seemed willing to tinker with goalkeeping selections before he was sacked. Baxter arrived and the fans expected him to make defensive changes as the number of goals conceded by the team was cause for alarm. But no, Baxter continued with the ineffective and lacklustre partnership. Just like Hunt, the former Bafana Bafana mentor is only fiddling with goalkeeping selections.

Not having a striker

Not signing a striker was suicide from the Chiefs technical team. Last season Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro were battling with injuries, only netting 14 goals in all competitions between them. Lazarous Kambole was firing blanks, failing to score a single goal in 23 appearances with the Zambian placed on the transfer list. Despite Kambole’s poor goalscoring record, I think he should be starting so he play the role of target man. Having a physically imposing forward who can hold up the ball opens space for players like Keagan Dolly and Khama Billiat. Even when France won the World Cup, Olivier Giroud started all the important matches even though he didn’t have not even one shot on target, he was still very important in terms of creating space for players like Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann. Baxter himself use to play Kingston Nkatha in his last spell even though the Zimbabwean wasn’t scoring.

Lack of creativity

The current Kaizer Chiefs team lacks goals and creativity because there are too many defensive-minded players. Baxter has been starting with Njabulo Blom, Mathoho, Cardoso and S’fiso Hlanti at the back. In front of them he would have Njabulo Ngcobo, either Akumu Agay or Cole Alexender and Phathutshedzo Nange in midfield. The front three of Bernard Parker, Dolly and Billiat.

If you look at the players above you will notice none of them has a great goal scoring record. Dolly is a sensational player, arguably the best player in the league but his main weakness has been a low goal scoring record. Yes, he creates a lot but unfortunately at Chiefs there is no finisher at the moment. Parker has two goals in the last two season and both goals came in the match against SuperSport.

Failing against top of the table teams

The CAF Champions League finalists have been atrocious against the current top of the table teams, losing to all of the current top three teams. Baxter’s boys succumbed to a 2-0 league defeat against Sundowns while also losing on penalties in the MTN8. Royal AM thrashed them 4-1 while Stellenbosch inflicted Chiefs’ third loss of the season with a 1-0 victory. So then, against the current top three Amakhosi have conceded nine goals in four matches including the two MTN 8 against Sundowns.

Not using substitutions

Baxter has been very slow when he’s needed to make game-changing substations. In most matches, the first sub comes after the 75th minute which is often too late. When he does substitute early the first player he introduces is usually Agay, a player who probably shouldn’t even be in the Kaizer Chiefs dressing room. Players like Kearyn Baccus, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Sabelo Radebe, and Kgaogelo Sekgota appear to have been frozen out. 

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