Baxter turns focus to Nedbank Cup

2013-05-14 11:47

With nine fingers already on the Absa Premiership title, Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter says he will use Amakhosi’s last two league games to decide on his team for the Nedbank Cup final.

“Will they become complacent? Well if they do, they won’t play in the (Cup) final,” Baxter said, in a stern warning to his players ahead of their match against SuperSport United in Polokwane tomorrow.

“They’re playing for their places in the final. The two games we have left – we want to win those games. I want the team to go full out and I’ll pick the side for the final on what I see.”

Tomorrow’s fixture would be a dress rehearsal for next week’s cup final in Durban.

Chiefs could lose their remaining games and still take the title, as long as second-placed Platinum Stars, three points behind with one match left in their campaign, do not manage to improve their goal difference by at least 10 strikes.

Baxter said his troops could handle the expectations and pressure of hunting for a league and cup double.

“If you have professional players and they’re not looking for a cup and league double with this opportunity we have, then they shouldn’t be playing at this level,” Baxter said.

“I’m hoping that everybody is looking for that. Does that mean that it will happen? No it doesn’t. It means we have ambition and passion.”

Baxter drove home the point that his charges were expected to give their all against SuperSport in their midweek clash, despite needing only one point to guarantee the Soweto giants their first league crown in eight years.

“Every team in the league expects Chiefs to play one hundred percent and not just hang their shirts out to dry.

“If they have any complacency they better lose it quickly.”

With Baxter banished to the stands after a red card for abusive comments towards an assistant referee in their cup semifinal against United FC earlier this month, assistant coach Doctor Khumalo would marshal the side from the bench.

Khumalo echoed the sentiments of Baxter and insisted they had not yet won the league title.

“Champions? No, not yet,” said Khumalo.

“We still have two games to go. The coach addressed the players and told them it will only be over after the final of the Nedbank Cup.”

Khumalo dismissed the notion that Chiefs would be satisfied with a draw in their penultimate Premiership fixture, despite Stars and third-placed Orlando Pirates dropping points at the weekend.

“We still focus on discipline. Nothing has changed,” he said.

“What happened on Saturday has nothing to do with Kaizer Chiefs. “We still have to go out there and deliver.

“The belief is, if you are crowned champions, you have to do it by points and not goal difference.”

In the only other game tomorrow, Pirates, chasing second position, host log-bottom Black Leopards at Orlando Stadium.

Leopards, two points behind rookies Chippa United, and five behind Ajax Cape Town, will be desperate for points in their penultimate fixture of the season.

A crucial victory would lift them from the bottom rung of the ladder and give them a possible chance of avoiding a relegation playoff battle.

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