Chiefs must live with expectations – Baxter

2012-10-09 11:14

Kaizer Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter believes Amakhosi’s supporters will expect the side to challenge for this year’s Telkom Knockout title after making a solid start to the league season.

Chiefs were drawn against last year’s losing finalists, Wits, at the draw for the cup competition, which includes all 16 Premiership teams, last night.

“If you’re a team with ambition, you always live with expectations of the club, of the players and of the supporters,” Baxter said.

“That’s nothing new for us. Given that we’ve had a decent start to the season, I think the expectations will continue to grow.

“The players have to live with that, I have to live with that and we have to carry on and try to reproduce that good form,” the coach said.

While Amakhosi were unbeaten after seven league fixtures, climbing to the summit of the table, Baxter said a knockout competition was always going to pose a different set of challenges for the title contenders.

“The cup’s usually a bit more aggressive and not so tactically smart,” said the former Bafana Bafana boss.
“It’s usually gas to the bottom and handbrake off, and just go-for-it kind of football.”

Chiefs beat Wits 3-1 in a league clash last month, but Baxter believed the Students would offer a stronger challenge in the knockout format.

“It will probably be a different game to the one we played in the league,” he said.

“It’s a cup game and they are starting to put good things together on a regular basis. Wits are similar to us, it’s a work in progress, and the longer we work, I’m hoping the better we get.”

With a congested fixture list, Baxter said he was looking at the rest of his squad and would consider rotating his group in order to keep the Soweto side fit for the remainder of the season.

“The problem with rotation is that, unless you have a squad that is very even, the players coming in take time to get into the swing of things,” he said.

“We have a good squad. It’s not impossible that we’ll do that, but I’m very careful to do that. I don’t want to do it to too many players because it upsets the balance of the team, but certainly there are some candidates that have pushed themselves forward.”

Meanwhile, defending champions Orlando Pirates will take on Black Leopards away from home, in the first round, as they bid to reclaim the trophy they won last year.

Top-flight newcomers Chippa United host Bloemfontein Celtic, Free State stars were drawn against Golden Arrows, Ajax Cape Town face SuperSport United, AmaZulu square off against Platinum Stars, Moroka Swallows travel to Maritzburg United and Mamelodi Sundowns host the University of Pretoria.

The cup was set to kick-off later this month, but the Premier Soccer League had not yet confirmed dates and venues for the fixtures.

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