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Cape Town City v Kaizer Chiefs

Youthful Cape Town City show Baxter’s aging Kaizer Chiefs what they're missing

4:23 PM MYT 16/02/2022
Stuart Baxter Bernard Parker
The Glamour Boys lacked energy, intensity and creativity as they drew 0-0 with a far younger Citizens side in the Mother City on Tuesday night

As the season progresses, it's becoming apparent that the Kaizer Chiefs squad is in need of rejuvenation and some fresh blood.

Reeve Frosler and Njabulo Blom aside, Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter named a team made up primarily of players in their 30's and late 20's, including Bernard Parker (35), Daniel Cardoso (33), Eric Mathoho (31), Thabani Dube (29), Khama Billiat (31), Phathutshedzo Nange (30) Keagan Dolly (29) and Ramahlwe Mphahlele (32).

By contrast, City handed a debut to 18-year-old Jaydon Rhodes and fielded a bunch of youngsters they've promoted from their reserve side.

Despite the age and experience gap, the young Cape side matched Chiefs evenly and had the better of the exchanges in the final 30 minutes in particular, against a tiring Amakhosi side. A bit more composure in front of goal and City could have won it as they put Chiefs under a lot of late pressure.

Chiefs' lack of creativity on the night will be of concern, while Baxter's tendency to play it safe and go for the tried and tested veterans, is not enduring him to the supporters, nor is it getting results. Nor are his overly defensive line-ups.

When looking at the bench, there was not much in the way of fresh impetus either, as Baxter brought on defender Siyabonga Ngezana, defensive midfielder Kearyn Baccus, as well as forwards Lebogang Manyama and Samir Nurkovic, none of whom has been among the goals.

It was notable that Baxter elected not to bring on Kgaogelo Sekgota, while the likes of Happy Mashiane, Sabelo Radebe and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo were not part of the squad.

It’s debatable though as to whether Baxter is willing to fully trust in the younger players and generally seems to prefer experience.

With many players heading towards the end of their careers, a number of individuals off form, and several who seem to spend more time sidelined with injury than playing, it’s looking like Chiefs are going to have to invest heavily in the off-season. Especially if Baxter’s not willing to usher in more of the squad’s younger players.