New Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter has promised to bring the team back to playing an exciting brand of football.
As media reports suggested weeks ago, on Wednesday, Chiefs officially announced the reappointed Baxter – six years after he left the club.
Baxter had a successful first stint at Naturena, where he won two league titles (2012/13 and 2014/15), the MTN8 (2014/15) and the Nedbank Cup (2012/13).
The 67-year-old takes over the team from Gavin Hunt, who was fired before ending his first season at the club a fortnight ago. Hunt was criticised by fans for the team’s dull style of football.
Baxter, who brought the team their last trophy in 2015, aims to get the team playing in an expansive way.
“Now we are the hunter. We were the hunted in my first stint… The fond memories I have are about the happiness that we brought our supporters. The supporters identified too strongly with the way we played,” Baxter said.
“I don’t think anyone was playing with the winning streak in mind. Teams played us with the handbrake on. If we scored, they [opponents] also believed that they were going to lose and we need to recreate that.”
Baxter will work with Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard as his assistants. Since his exit in 2015, Chiefs have gone through four coaches – Steve Komphela, Giovanni Solinas, Ernst Middendorp and Gavin Hunt. His successors all failed to win a trophy with the club.
Baxter, who was fired at Indian club Odisha in April for making insensitive remarks about rape, said he would try to identify where the others went wrong.
“It’s important that people understand that the coaches who have been here before me are not bad coaches. They are very good coaches,” he said.
“So, this is not about my coming here to dismantle everything that has been done. It’s about trying to find a better balance and maybe rebuilding the culture around the team.
“Chiefs have moved forward since I was here. This time there will be more expectations and it is a tougher league. The league has improved and there are no pushovers. The game has changed a lot.”
Similar to his first stint, Baxter said he was joining the team again when the club was going through a drought.
“When I was here the last time, the club had not won anything for quite a while. I knew that winning was a priority. But I didn’t just look at winning trophies; I was trying to build the team, create a bond with the supporters and find an identity. That will be the same now.”