Amakhosi were a dominant force in local football during the British tactician’s final season (2014/15) with the club – winning the PSL and MTN8 titles
Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter has set his sights on knocking Mamelodi Sundowns off their perch ahead of their titanic clash in the MTN8 quarter-final match on Sunday.
Sundowns, who have dominated South African football in the last four years winning four successive PSL titles, will play host to Chiefs at the 2010 Fifa World Cup training venue, Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.
This will be Baxter’s first official domestic match since he rejoined Amakhosi in June this year and the experienced tactician is determined to narrow the gap between his side and Masandawana.
“Sundowns have set the benchmark, and I don’t totally agree when everyone says they’ve signed all the best players,” Baxter told the media,
“You’ve still got to go out and make a team. That doesn’t entitle anyone to win championships.
“To keep winning championships is an impressive performance by everybody at Sundowns, and I’m sure that they’re proud of it.”
Baxter remains the last coach to win a major trophy with Chiefs in 2015 when he guided the Soweto giants to the PSL title.
Chiefs have been among the busiest clubs in the current PSL transfer window signing nine new players and Baxter is looking to build a team that can end Sundowns’ dominance.
“The sleepless nights that I may have is about working out how I can get the best out of my players and not how I can knock down the Sundowns players,” he explained.
“I think the gap has increased, but again, it’s not because we couldn’t sign players, but there’s been a few reasons why gradually Chiefs have been away from that benchmark.
“I hope that the rebuilding process will lead to closing that gap [to Sundowns] and eventually knocking them off their perch. I’m sure that there are a few teams in that chasing pack that would like to do that.”
Sundowns have also been active in the transfer window signing six new players and Baxter indicated that Masandawana will be under pressure in the new season.
“The pressure is firmly on Sundowns in the way they run the club. I mean Paris Saint-Germain have just signed Leo Messi. Now the only thing that will satisfy everybody will be a Champions League trophy,” he added.
“When you have signed as many players as Sundowns have signed, it increases that pressure in that the bar is set higher. So they will have the favourite stamp, and it’s up to the rest of us to chase them down and knock them off that perch.
“To make sure that there’s some sort of greater competition into the league because they’ve been good in making that competition pretty sparse.”
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