Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter has admitted that other teams have caught up with the Soweto giants, some even surpassing the team since the last time he coached in South Africa. Baxter has not had a happy start to his second stint at Natuerena and believes work done at other clubs is why Chiefs are finding the going tougher now than in 2014.
“We are living in different times. If you look at teams at that time when I was there(in 2014), I think the standard of coaching now is better. I think more teams are better organised, and more teams can beat each other,” Baxter told a media briefing ahead of the DSTV Premiership league match against Chippa United.
The Phefeni Glamour Boys have one win in their last five matches, which is matched by the number of red cards the club has accumulated over the same period. The tag of invincibility has fallen off the shoulder of the great club as other teams make progress. In one of those five games, Baxter and company had to embarrassingly listen to a speaker blasting Amapiano while their conquerors made Instagram videos.
“The bigger teams have pushed on at the same pace, if not more than Chiefs. I think it will take time for Chiefs to find that edge and move away from their competition to put themselves in the position of a Bayern Munich or a very dominant force,” noted the Scotsman, who was quick to remind all those virtually present that he is the only coach to have won anything at Kaizer Chiefs in the last 18 years.
The factor that Baxter remains the most successful coach at Kaizer Chiefs in the last 15 years shows how much the club has fallen from the dizzy heights of being Cup Kings and untouchable in the league. Baxter believes there is still potential to build Amakhosi into the dynasty he thought he could build in 2014.
“Do I think there is a potential to do it? Yes. Do I think it would be as easy as I thought at that time? No, because everybody else has closed that gap, and some people have possibly kicked on further,” admitted Baxter.
One club that has certainly kicked on further is Mamelodi Sundowns. The Chloorkop-based league champions are walking the DSTV Premiership in the manner that Goliath used to swagger around town before young David came along. There is a lot of work ahead for Baxter and the administrators at Kaizer Chiefs to bring back a semblance of the good old glory days.