Cape Town - With it all seemingly falling apart at Kaizer Chiefs, Sport24 looks at exactly how the losses of coach Stuart Baxter and a host of players could affect the PSL champions moving into the 2015/16 season.
To have let the Englishman leave so easily is criminal. Baxter has brought a consistency to Chiefs that has moved them head and shoulders above the rest. He has spent the last three seasons instilling a philosophy that focused on defensive structure and transitional play. It paid dividends in 2014/15 when every player was on the same page – a rare thing in South African football. Chiefs under Baxter looked like a side that could enjoy a period of dominance, creating history along the way. But, that was not to be. Amakhosi will have to start from scratch now, with a new mentor bringing in a new philosophy.
This is perhaps the one high-profile departure that Chiefs supporters should not sweat over. Yes, Khune could be the best goalkeeper in the country, but his lengthy absence in the 2014/15 season was not felt. In Brilliant Khuzwayo, Chiefs have a more than adequate replacement while Reyaad Pieterse has also shone when given the chance. Khune’s ability can never be questioned, but he has caused some trouble along the way with some irresponsible social media outbursts as well as some quite ridiculous on-field displays. Combine this with his reportedly enormous salary request, and perhaps Khune leaving is not the worst thing in the world for the Glamour Boys.
This one is going to hurt. The central defender was the standout performer not only for Chiefs, but throughout the entire league, winning PSL Player of the Season. His commanding presence both physically and aerially, his composure on the ball and positional sense have all turned him into the country’s form centre back. Eric Mathoho is staying, but the partnership he and Mashamaite had formed was the envy of every club in the league and it will certainly be missed at Naturena next season.
Another puzzling exit from a Chiefs perspective, Masango was instrumental in his side’s success last season. The winger scored seven times throughout the league campaign to finish as the club’s joint top scorer – not bad for a midfielder. His pace, trickery and ability to get into the box at the right times resulted in Chiefs scoring some crucial goals on their road to glory. He is now a regular fixture in the Bafana squad, and at just 25 he has a long career ahead of him … not that Chiefs will benefiting from that at all.
There is nothing earth-shattering here. It is reported that Bafana’s third highest scorer had missed a few Chiefs events and as a result had been called into disciplinary hearings, but the truth is that ‘Killer’ and Amakhosi never quite clicked. It is a move that benefits both parties, and Mphela will be hoping he can resurrect his PSL career elsewhere.