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Kaizer Chiefs coach Baxter concedes league to Mamelodi Sundowns

10:22 GMT+4 20/03/2022
Stuart Baxter Kaizer Chiefs
Amakhosi have picked up 35 points from 20 matches and are 16 points behind Masandawana, although the Pretoria club have played three games more

Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter believes that Saturday’s defeat to Golden Arrows has ended any chance of a title challenge from his side.

Chiefs had gone into the match against Golden Arrows at the FNB Stadium boosted by the news on Friday that they had been given a lifeline, after a Safa arbitrator ruled that the assignments against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows in 2021 which were missed due to a Covid-19 outbreak, should be played, rather than the Glamour Boys being docked points.

But the Soweto giants failed to capitalise on the opportunity as they lost 1-0 to Arrows in what is the first time they’ve played the Durban club this season.

“There’s lot of games to play and there’s lots of work to do. And we wanted to try and keep whatever pressure we could on the leaders,” Baxter told SuperSport TV after the match.

“Now I think with us losing, it’s probably given them (Sundowns) enough room to relax, then they’ll pick up enough points to run it home. We’ve got to try and get that other Caf place.”

Finishing second would qualify Amakhosi for the Caf Champions League, a third placed finish would mean participation in the Caf Confederation Cup.

Of disappointment to Baxter was conceding early against Abafana bes’Thende, after an Erick Mathoho mistake had let Knox Mutizwa in.

“Of course we don’t get off to a good start. Of course that’s a body blow, we’ve now got a hill to climb,” he commented.

The Chiefs mentor was also unimpressed by his team’s tendency to go the direct route, as they struggled to find any cohesion in their attacks.

“We didn’t play with enough quality at any time. When you’re not playing well with the ball, then you end up going almost route-one all the time towards Samir [Nurkovic], and that’s not our game,” the former Bafana Bafana coach explained.

“Yes you can play that way (direct) and we should have been able to make a better fist of that than we did. But all the training that we did is about the ball being under control.”