Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter said he was impressed with the professionalism shown by his players in their 3-0 win over Amazulu in the final Premiership game of the season at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
"There is no denying we have had a disappointing end to the season after failing to win any of the four titles we were pursuing," said the Chiefs coach.
"The players might have been excused for drooping their shoulders and going through the motions in the final game of a long and trying season.
"Instead they gave a thoroughly professional performance and showed their mettle, which augers well for the future."
Baxter said the performance against AmaZulu was encouraging as they begin to plan ahead almost immediately to regain the Premier League title.
Chiefs edged to within two points of already-crowned Mamelodi Sundowns, that drew 1-1 against Maritzburg United with a last-minute goal to end their successful programme on a more subdued note.
Amakhosi, however, ended up with a superior goal-difference to that of Sundowns and would have been crowned champions had they acquired two extra points.
Chiefs netted a R5-million Premier League runners-up prize against the R10-million going to Sundowns, and also qualify for the second place open to a South African club in next year's Caf Champions League.
Yet on a muggly afternoon in Polokwane of what-might-have-beens, it was AmaZulu who experienced the greater disappointment on the day.
Chiefs knew before their final match they had no chance of overhauling Sundowns, but AmaZulu's defeat meant they had lost out on securing a place in next season's MTN8 Cup in spite of holding onto a place among the top eight teams in the log for much of the season.
"It was terrible ending the season this way," said AmaZulu coach Craig Rosslee after what has been a generally encouraging and successful campaign.
"In the opening half it appeared as though the players had not got out of the bus.
"Perhaps it was the importance of the occasion but I can't remember us playing worse all season. Still it would be wrong to dwell on this one game and overlook what we achieved in the season as a whole."
After the defeat AmaZulu received the news that MTN8 Cup holders Platinum Stars had edged them out of the eighth place in the log on goal difference by virtue of a 2-0 win over Ajax Cape Town.
Kingston Nkhatha had opened the score for Chiefs as early as the 11th minute.
Then a corner from Siphiwe Tshabalala enabled Tefu Mashamaite to head the ball into the net in the 40th minute to give Chiefs a 2-0 lead at half-time.
AmaZulu demonstrated more grit and determination in the second half, but it was Chiefs who scored again through substitute Katlego Mphela in the 54th minute.