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Kaizer Chiefs coach Baxter reacts to Parker’s age critics

8:59 pm AEDT 6/3/22
Bernard Parker, Kaizer Chiefs, August 2021
The 35-year-old attacker was named Man-of-the-Match following a stellar performance as Amakhosi retained Soweto Derby bragging rights

Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter says talk about midfielder Bernard Parker being “too old” should be “put away for a while.”

This comes as the veteran attacker was selected as the best player on the pitch after inspiring Chiefs to a 2-1 Premier Soccer League win over Orlando Pirates on Saturday.

On a day he was involved in the Soweto Derby for the 30th time, Parker provided an assist for Chiefs' Reeve Frosler, who opened the scoring for Chiefs, and was also instrumental in most of Amakhosi’s attacks.

“Bernard Parker probably gave one of the best performances I’ve seen in from a PSL player,” said Baxter as per iDiski Times.

“So the talk of people saying he’s too old, I think people should absolutely put that one away for a while anyway because if he plays like that he gets into any team in the PSL.

“Bernard ran more than anyone in the team today, he ran over 13kms. David Beckham was praised to the high heavens when he ran 12.4km against Greece in a World Cup qualifier for England, Bernard ran over 13.”

Parker's Chiefs contract expires at the end of June and it is to be seen if the club offers him a new deal.

There have been mixed sentiments between fans regarding whether the 35-year-old deserves a new contract or not.

Baxter also explained what makes Parker stay on top of his game in what sounds like a vote of confidence to keep the player beyond this season.

“What I say to him? Bernard is a marvellous human being, he’s a great footballer, a model-professional but he’s a great human being,” Baxter added.

“So you can talk to Bernard on a level that is not just to fire him up to play football – I think Bernard thrives on stretching himself.

“Stretching himself as a person, stretching himself as a player, stretching himself to be what Kaizer Chiefs need him to be. And if he sits in the stands, he will be the best player in the stands, if he sits on the bench, he will be a great bench player and that’s his attitude.

“All I do is try and make sure he stays in that zone where he can give that sort of performance, it’s his credit that he can still give it. Even if I give some sort of inspiration, the motivation comes from Bernard Parker, nowhere else.”

Parker has featured in 16 of Chiefs’ 19 league matches this season, scoring three goals and providing two assists.