Baxter’s comments ahead of visit to SuperSport
Baxter’s comments ahead of visit to SuperSport

Posted in News, Team News on Oct 24, 2021.

On the current spirit in the camp:

The spirit has been good all season. The result now (the 4-0 win against Chippa) obviously pleased the squad. It’s easier for them to be optimistic when you’ve just come off a good win. When you’ve played quite well, but still lose, that little edge you can get is difficult to find. They’ve kept their heads up, they’ve been really good, and they’ve kept working. We’ve given some decent performances without being great, but in the last one, the result matched the performance. They’re very grateful for that and they’re looking forward to the next game.


On what still needs to be done with the squad:

We haven’t turned it around completely yet. There’s a lot of work to be done. Kaizer Chiefs is a very complex animal to tame. There’s a lot of work to be done. There is that culture reset if you want that has got to be finished. The players have to all buy into it, which they are doing, but results have got to be positive and stay positive. Because then you’ve got total buy-in, and you get the buy-in of supporters. It’s easy for people to be doubtful and critical, just because the ball hits the post and comes out, rather than hits the post and goes in. As a coach, it can be a culture that makes our life very pleasant, or very unpleasant.


On managing the expectations and spirit of the entire squad:

The great Bill Shankly of Liverpool said, ‘I never had problems with players that are one to eleven, I’ve got to do all my work with the ones that are 11 to 23’. That’s wisdom. If you don’t do the work with the players that are not playing, then you better open your cheque book because very quickly they’re on the phone to their agent and want to leave. All the staff have to do work in keeping those players believing in themselves, keeping those players optimistic and trying to do what you can to keep them switched on and a part of the bigger picture. There’s no secret for that, it’s just a question of sensing this player’s getting his head down and needs a bit of help or this one needs motivating and inspiring a bit. I think we all help with that. Arthur (Zwane), Sheppy (Dillon Sheppard) and Lee (Baxter), all the staff all do their part on that.


How to manage a squad coming off the high of a big win:

The way to deal with it is you live in the now. The truth is we weren’t – when we were disappointed – as bad as people say we were. And we’re not as good as people say we are in the euphoria. We’ve got to remain independent of that pat on the back. We’ve got to know the job that we’re doing. We know have a really difficult game in SuperSport, who are having a great season. They’re very stable, they’ve not made major changes. They’ve just topped the squad up, so they’ve been together for a while. This is going to be a really difficult game. All I know is that after coming off a 4-0 it’s much easier to approach the game in the right way than it is if we’re coming off a played well but lost 2-1.


On his players’ approach to playing his former club SuperSport United:

The players will be revved up. I know Kaitano (Temb0), Kaitano knows me. And I am sure we’ll both be trying to pull a couple of tricks to try to blindside the other. The (SuperSport) players have worked under me, most of them. If I had stood still as a coach, they would know exactly what we’re going to do. But that is not the case. I’ve moved forward, they’ve moved forward. They will be doing things that I don’t expect, and we will be doing things that they don’t expect. So, the basis is there for a very interesting game. We will do everything we can to get the three points and at the moment the lads are believing and it’s a good atmosphere. We’re going for it.


Squad injury update:

We’ve got to wait the normal time for Samir (Nurković). Samir has been given permission to go home with his father, who is seriously ill. We’ve arranged for his rehabilitation to take place there. We think that’s the best thing to do humanely and also it doesn’t affect Samir’s return. (Dumsani) Zuma is looking good. He is back in training. Leo Castro is starting to kick a ball and be with us again. We’ve got a couple that is getting there. Cole (Alexander) is still missing, but we’re not going to gamble on him. He will be ready in a week’s time. KG (Kgaogelo Sekgota) is ready. He has been training, he’s looking very explosive. Does he have 90 minutes in him? No. But it’s a little bit like what we had with Keagan. He’s fit enough to be on the bench, he’s a very good impact player to have around.

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