After much speculation, Kaizer Chiefs on Wednesday confirmed the return of Stuart Baxter as their head coach.
Baxter joins the club on a two-year contract with the option of two additional years. He will be assisted by Arthur Zwane and Dillon Shepherd, who were in charge of Chiefs for the last two league games after Gavin Hunt was fired.
Victories over Golden Arrows and TS Galaxy saw them qualifying for next season’s MTN8 after finishing in the eighth spot.
The 67-year-old former Bafana Bafana mentor was the last coach to bring a trophy to Naturena in 2015 when they won the league title.
The Englishman also reunites with Molefi Ntseki whom he worked with at the national team. Last week Ntseki was appointed as the head of technical and the youth development academy.
Baxter will also work with his son Lee who is the goalkeeper coach.
“We believe we are on track with the changes we have made so far in the coaching and technical department after a challenging season domestically,” club chairperson Kaizer Motaung said.
“After extensive reviews and consultations, we decided to appoint Stuart because we believe he is one coach who understands our philosophy and culture. We know his work ethic and believe he will work with the team we have while trying to rebuild and ensure we have a formidable side in the new season.”
Amakhosi have once again looked to a former coach to end their long running trophy drought. In 2018, the club reappointed Ernst Middendorp but he failed to end the barren run – with the team embarrassingly imploding on the last day of the 2019/20 league title race.
Baxter won two league titles (2012/13 and 2014/15) and the MTN8 (2014/15) and Nedbank Cup (2012/13).
He is in a race against time though to get a work permit ahead of the CAF Champions League semifinals. Chiefs take on Wydad Athletic in the first leg on June 19.
“We need the coach to have enough time and prepare adequately for the new season,” Motaung added.
“We did not have a decent pre-season due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other factors last season. So we hope to use the CAF Champions League journey as a part of our preparations while trying to do well in the competition. It won’t be easy, but we believe the team and the technical staff around him will help with the transition.”