Stuart Baxter departs Kaizer Chiefs with a record of two championships in the
last three seasons but, looking ahead, also a club in some tatters.
Not only is there a void to fill in the coaching department, but also three key
players are out on their ear in the most brazen cull that any Premier Soccer
League club has executed in for a long while.
The club called the bluff of Itumeleng Khune, Mandla Masango and Tefu
Mashamaite and made it clear that they would not be held to ransom over salary
What is abundantly clear that the old romantic image of almost every South
African school kid prepared to give his everything to play for Chiefs is now
replaced by the reality of a cold, hard, cash-driven world.
Khune and Mashamaite will find some deliverance at Sundowns, according to
insiders, and might yet have the last laugh. Masango is running around like a
chicken without a head, having gone though three agents in the last week. But
he will also find a club, although maybe not on the kind of money the thinks he
Chiefs are sitting at a potential crossroads, having not significantly
refreshed their squad for several seasons and are now scrambling about for
They have got Daniel Cardoso and Bongani Ndulula’s deals done although on
Tuesday tried with straight-faced and brazen bulls***t to convince a watching
audience these were still deals in the making.
Tuesday’s press conference at Naturena to announce the departures was brimming
with falsehoods, not least the attempt to paint a rosy picture around Baxter’s
He leaves because he is unhappy not to have got his way but twice was slapped
down when Kaizer Motaung spoke of Chiefs using a structure opposed to the way a
majority of English clubs run their clubs, where the manager is both a
businessman and a coach.
Bobby Motaung chimed in with a dig of his own about Chiefs structures needing
to be respected. Baxter sat grim faced through it all, insisting he wanted to
leave without muck flying about his head and therefore did not give his true
He had tried to get players of his own into the club in recent times, notably
the English striker James Keane who was supposed to be the replacement for
Baxter worked the media to try and force Chiefs hand but they did not bite. He
also made it clear the purchase of David Zulu was not his idea and the former
top scorer in the National First Division only got token game time while Baxter
made much of the departure of Nkhatha. Daggers have been flying about with gay
abandon for months now.
Now it is no longer Baxter’s problem, but Chiefs have got a real task on their
hands - to revamp their squad and bring some calm to their home.
Mark Gleeson is a world-renowned soccer commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.
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