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Kaizer Chiefs’ Baxter 'struggled to get best role' for Ngcobo

5:47 pm AEST 6/4/22
Nkosingiphile Ngcobo of Kaizer Chiefs.
The 68-year-old tactician admits struggles to get the best out of the 22-year-old after the frustrating draw against the Rockets

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter has admitted he has struggled to get the best role for midfielder Nkosingiphile Ngcobo after they battled to a frustrating 0-0 Premier Soccer League draw against TS Galaxy on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old has struggled for game time and against the Rockets at FNB Stadium, he was introduced in the 66th minute for Siyabonga Ngezana and saw his effort rattle the woodwork but could not help Amakhosi get maximum points from the fixture.

In total, the academy graduate has only managed four top-flight starts this campaign and the 68-year-old Baxter partly took the blame for his lack of game time with the PSL giants.

What did Baxter say?

“It’s a few things, one, Mshini always works hard in training – he’s a great lad. The way that we’re playing, he’s competing with Khama [Billiat], Keagan [Dolly], Bernard [Parker]. He’s competing with our senior players,” Baxter told the media.

“I’ve struggled, I’ve said this to the technical staff, I’ve said this to Mshini, I’ve struggled to really find the best role for him.

“That’s not saying he can’t play in the system that we play, but we’ve tried him as a false nine, we’ve tried him coming from the right, in the pocket in midfield, and behind the front players.

“But I’ve not got the best out of him yet, maybe it’s my fault, maybe his fault in adaptation. That’s not me giving up on him or I don’t rate him because I take every possibility I can to try and get him some minutes so he can feel comfortable with whatever role we give [him].

“So for Mshini it’s a work in progress but for both of us, I hope we find a role for him that he enjoys, I hope the role benefits the team.”

‘I suspect players are playing with anxiety’

On the team’s underwhelming display against Galaxy, a side that knocked them out of the Nedbank Cup in February, Baxter said: “We’ll look at the footage and see if we can find tactical reasons.

“We’ll look at the stats and see if we can see physical reasons. But I can’t unfortunately get inside their heads and find out the psychological reasons. I suspect that the players are playing with too much anxiety at the moment. When things don’t go their way, they take it hard,” he continued.

“It’s not a question of they don’t care, maybe they care too much and they feel that the shirt weighs a little bit heavy. At half-time, I tried to address that. But it needed a tactical change before we relaxed a bit and started playing the type of football we want to play.”

Chiefs will next face SuperSport United at FNB Stadium on April 16.