MTN8: Baxter facing selection poser

2014-08-23 13:25

Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter says he will weigh up whether or not to make sweeping changes to his line-up when the Soweto outfit host Platinum Stars in the return leg of the MTN8 semifinals tomorrow.

A superb brace from George Maluleka handed Amakhosi a comfortable 2-0 win over Dikwena at the royal Bafokeng Sports Palace last weekend, putting them in pole position for the second leg, with two away goals.

Baxter has been the model of consistency through Chiefs’ five games so far this season, refusing to make a single change to his starting XI, and has fielded identical line-ups in two MTN8 encounters and three league fixtures.

“That’s the conundrum, isn’t it? You think as a coach, ‘do I make changes and freshen it up?’ Then you think, ‘they’re doing the job’,” Baxter said ahead of tomorrow’s meeting at FNB Stadium.

“I’ve been asked if playing the same team means the opposition can plan for you. For over two years, we’ve probably been the easiest team in South Africa to read, because we’ve played the same way.”

“I think there’s a great mentality right now. And I think we’re quite difficult to play against,” Baxter said.

The former Bafana Bafana coach, however, has warned his side not to take anything for granted.

The biggest selection headache facing the Briton would be that of Siphiwe Tshabalala.

A crowd favourite and perennial first-team choice, Tshabalala was yet to feature for Baxter this season, following an injury in a pre-season friendly in Port Elizabeth.

A further hindrance for the veteran winger was the outstanding form of Mandla Masango, Tshabalala’s direct replacement, who had played in all five games.

Masango scored four goals in those five outings and received a call-up to the national team yesterday.

Meanwhile, Bernard Parker, who had missed the start of the season following surgery to his injured ankle, was close to a return and took part in training for the first time last week.

“Bernard Parker played a five-on-five this week and he’s asking me whether he should be on the bench,” Baxter revealed.

“So they’re [Tshabalala and Parker] chomping at the bit. But my challenge is to hold them back a bit and not be stupid.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.