Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs' fringe players made coach Stuart Baxter's day during a somewhat indifferent performance in the 4-0 Nedbank Cup last 32 round win over fourth-tier minnows Edu Sports at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Read: Chiefs crush Edu Sports
"I really can't say it was a great performance against a team of Edu Stars' stature and lack of experience," said the Amakhosi coach.
"After an hour's play we were only leading 1-0 and struggling to tie up the loose ends to avoid an embarrassing setback.
"Ultimately we got matters right and the Safa-based amateurs ran out of steam for what was a comfortable victory.
"But what really made the day for me was the form of the fringe players who were given the chance to show off their wares and challenge for regular places in the first-choice line-up.
Baxter said Siphelele Mthembu grabbed his opportunity by scoring a hattrick and Siphiwe Tshabalala, who had been hampered by injuries, had also been impressive.
"But all the fringe players who were in the original line-up and those who came on as substitutes impressed and provided a warning to the regulars not to take their places for granted.
"In addition, with a hectic programme coming up of Premier League, Caf Champions League and Nedbank Cup matches, it was reassuring to know that we have an adequate squad to meet the challenge ahead, make changes when necessary and not over-strain players who might need a break at times."
Johannes 'Bricks' Muda, a former defensive stalwart of both Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns who is now coaching Edu Stars, said his youthful charges from the amateur Castle League had achieved as much as could have been expected coming up against Chiefs for the first time.
"Had the players not understandably begun to tire midway through the second half, we might well have gone on to give Chiefs a real fright," said Muda.
"In any case, it is our main objective to move forward step-by-step from Safa's amateur Castle League and in time earn promotion to the PSL's First Division and even the Premier League in time, and playing against Chiefs will provide valuable experience towards achieving our objectives."
While Chiefs ultimately gobbled up the Edu Sports minnows, with former Platinum Stars striker Mthembu at the helm with a hattrick, fears that the Premier League leaders confrontation with a team, who are placed no higher than 10th in the amateur Castle League did not materialise.
All four goals recorded were scored with headers, thereby demonstrating the relative inexperience of the team based 25 km from Pretoria in Soshanguve.