Baxter has no complaints

2014-02-12 18:38
Stuart Baxter (Gallo)

Pietermaritzburg - Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter has insisted there were no qualms over the tough fixture list his side faced over the coming weeks after their nine-game Premiership winning streak ended against Maritzburg United on Tuesday.

Amakhosi, who were playing their third game in 12 days, and have another three to play in the next 12 days, were held to a 2-2 draw by the Team of Choice at the Harry Gwala Stadium.

"I've told our players that I don't want anybody bitching about the schedule," Baxter said. "It is what it is and is it tough? Yes it is. Is it going to be hectic? Yes it is. Are we going to have to rotate our squad? Yes we are.

"But does it mean it's impossible? No it isn't and I really want the players to take that as a challenge."

Defender Tefu Mashamaite scored nine minutes from time to salvage a point after the defending champions twice fell behind in Pietermaritzburg.

Ryan de Jongh had given the hosts the lead inside 70 seconds of a dramatic opening with a spectacular 25-yard strike, before Kingston Nkhatha pounced on a Shuaib Walters error to draw level after six minutes.

Bongolethu Jayiya scored a 35th minute penalty to restore the lead for Steve Komphela's side, before Mashamaite snatched an equaliser.

"I thought our player were bombing on tonight and that's a team that's really been through a schedule," Baxter said. "So I don't want anyone moaning about the fixtures. Life is tough sometimes.

"But I thought our players showed great character to come back from going 1-0 down inside the first few minutes. They kept on playing the type of football I want us to play, so I'm happy with that."

Even though the result ended Amakhosi's run of nine successive wins, the draw helped them stretch their lead at the top of the table to nine points ahead of second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, while United climbed to 13th.

Komphela was pleased with the result, extending his unbeaten start to two games after his appointment in January.

"We are marching on slowly but surely. We're now on 17 points and aim for 20 in the next game," he said.

"Anything we can get is a plus because it's getting difficult at the bottom there. So it was a crucial point for us."

The United boss also refused to blame goalkeeper Walters for his error, which saw him spill a routine Siphiwe Tshabalala shot onto the crossbar, allowing Nkhatha to tap in.

"We accept these things and can only learn from them," Komphela said.


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