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Baxter on Kaizer Chiefs exit: ‘The conditions became not conducive'

22:39 GMT+3 11/05/2022
Stuart Baxter coach of Kaizer Chiefs.
The experienced tactician left the Soweto giants with a year remaining on his contract

Former Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter has claimed conditions for him and the Premier Soccer League side were not conducive before his departure from the Amakhosi.

Baxter left with seven PSL games to go, and the club appointed Arthur Zwane – then his assistant – and Dillon Sheppard to steer the club in the remaining part of the season.

"Of course, I’d have liked to continue and see what we could do," Baxter told SABC Sport, "but I have to say, the conditions became not conducive for either me or Chiefs.

"It wasn’t the way I thought it would be when I actually came back. As things unfolded, it wasn’t what I thought it would be."

Under his guidance, the experienced tactician believed Chiefs were primed to finish second in the table. Currently, Amakhosi are fourth, 19 points below Mamelodi Sundowns, who have already retained the league title.

"So, we sat down and agreed to part company, and that is sad for me because of what I’ve just said," he continued.

"Therefore, I would have liked to continue because I think we could’ve finished [in the] top two, and I don’t know where in the table the team will finish now, but I just think that there’s a sadness for my side that we didn’t get to do that."

However, the Englishman discussed his relationship with the Glamour Boys even before he made his return: "First of all, my history with Chiefs is something that I think is a bit special," the former Bafana Bafana coach added.

"It’s a got special part in my heart, and my experiences with Chiefs until coming back now was only positive…only filled with happiness, with passion, with motivation, with a relationship with supporters and the players I had worked with.

"So, that’s important that I made that point. That’s why I came back. That’s why I considered coming back, because you try not to go back to places you have worked before."

Before he parted ways with the Glamour Boys, he had overseen them for 10 months and has opened up about the challenges he faced at Naturena.

"When I came back, I knew what had been going on before," Baxter, who won four trophies, including two PSL titles between 2012 and 2015, stated: "I knew what happened before I came the first time, I knew what happened since I left, and I just got this passion to do what I could to put things right.

"To pull things back together again…so that’s the second point. And everything that had been said between me and Chiefs led me to believe that, that would be the case.

"So, coming back- a lot of work to do, not because coaches before me have not done the job properly, but because the circumstances there were still that there was an embargo [Fifa ban] then Covid-19."

He continued: "There were so many things…do we sign new players? Do we bring them from the academy, can we replace a new culture, can we do all of that and can we be successful and win something? So, that was what I was trying to do."

As he accepted the offer to take charge of the Soweto giants again, the 68-year-old revealed what he wanted to see change.

"When you bring back a coach that’s been successful, whether it’s Jose Mourinho, Stuart Baxter, or Fred Blog…it doesn’t matter," he concluded. "The club is obviously thinking this guy has got a bit of a recipe that suits us. And we can get along.

"Am I the same coach that I was when I was at Chiefs last time? No, of course, I’m not. I mean, my coaching philosophy has moved forward. The modern game has developed, and if you are a coach, you keep pace with that. You don’t stand still, you develop.

"I wanted to bring that development to Chiefs and find a new way."