Déjà vu for Baxter

Kaizer Chiefs will begin their 52nd top-flight campaign in South African football with a clash against Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN 8 Quarterfinals on the 15th August at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. The match will kick off at 15h00.

Sundowns will be at home for the fixture after ending the 2020-21 season as Dstv Premiership league champions. Chiefs rounded off the top eight places with a late league flurry and will now be looking to win their 16th MTN 8 title, the last of which they collected when newly appointed Amakhosi coach Stuart Baxter was at the helm of the club in his first spell in charge in 2014-15.

Chiefs’ 26th opening league game of a Premier Soccer League season, since the league was formed in 1996-97, will see them travel to the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Sunday 22 August to take on TS Galaxy at 17h00.

Chiefs will look to start a PSL campaign by winning their opening league game for a 16th time, having won 15 of their previous 25 league season openers.

For Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter it’s a case of déjà vu, as his first domestic game in charge of Chiefs in his first spell at the club was also against Mamelodi Sundowns on the 5th August 2012, almost nine years ago.

It was also an MTN 8 quarterfinal game, which ended in a 4-1 loss to Chiefs.

After that inauspicious start, Baxter did though go on to take Chiefs to a sensational league and cup double in his first season at the club as Chiefs won the league title and Nedbank Cup in the 2012/13 season.

The first league game of the 2021-22 season will see Baxter become the third Chiefs coach in the PSL era to be in charge of the club in four different league seasons domestically. Only Ernst Middendorp and Muhsin Ertugral since 1996-97 have been full time Chiefs coaches in four different domestic league campaigns.

Ertugral was Chiefs coach for three seasons between 1999 and 2003, but left the club at the start of the 2002-03 season, after beginning a fourth successive season at Chiefs.

He came back for a second spell in charge from 2007 to 2009, while Middendorp was in charge of Chiefs from 2005-07 and returned for a second spell between 2018 and 2020.

Baxter will be looking to make more history this season, as he has been in charge of 90 league games as Chiefs coach.

A further 10 league games at the helm will see him become only the second coach to guide Amakhosi into 100 league games in the PSL era after Muhsin Ertugral, who has overseen 161 league games as Chiefs coach.

Middendorp, who is behind Ertugral in second place, was in charge of 98 league games as Amakhosi coach.