Baxter’s squad gives him a “good problem”

Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter is delighted that Amakhosi’s players who have been on the bench stepped up in the good win against Swallows FC and have given him a “good problem” when it comes to team selection.

Players like Kearyn Baccus, Happy Mashiane, Austin Dube and Ramahlwe Mphahlele received rare starts for Amakhosi against the Birds, and all acquitted themselves well in a polished 3-1 win.

A combination of injuries, suspensions and a COVID outbreak in the camp resulted in Baxter making six changes to the Chiefs team for Swallows from the one that drew their last game against AmaZulu.

“With the three games we’ve had in a very short time, the load on the players has been enormous. We were conscious of the fact. That’s why we had a lot of changes to start with and that’s why we tried to ease the load in the end by putting some of the lads on and I thought Kearyn was excellent in his role. (Siphosakhe) Ntiya-Ntiya came on and also had a very good little cameo. So it was good,” Baxter told www.kaizerchiefs.com after the win against Swallows.

With players like Njabulo Blom and Cole Alexander missing against Swallows due to suspension and the midfield without the steel of midfield mainstays such as Njabulo Ngcobo and Phathutshedzo Nange, Baxter was happy that the players who featured against Swallows grabbed their chance well.

“It’s one of those where the lads you think are the starters must make sure they’re up for it now. Because there are lads that are breathing down their necks. Which gives me a good problem,” said Baxter.

As for the performance against Swallows, Baxter was pleased with maximum points in what was “a very difficult game”.

“The pitch was very troublesome, and the wind was very strong. It made good football quite difficult, but we produced three passages of excellent play that produced three goals. I think we managed the game quite well as it went on. I’m a little bit upset that we conceded a goal. It was a bad mistake really for us as a team to concede that, switching off. But all in all, 3-1 in a derby away from home was a good result,” said Baxter.

The coach felt that his front three of Khama Billiat, Keagan Dolly and Bernard Parker “all did very well” in squeezing the life out of the Birds and producing some clinical finishing.

“They pressed very well in the first half and that resulted in us getting a couple of very good chances. If you give them an inch, they will take a yard.  They found themselves a little bit of space and three goals was the result,” Baxter concluded.