Former Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter got his predecessor Arthur Zwane hot under the collar following insinuation by the Brit that Zwane and Dillon Sheppard – his then assistants – were responsible for his premature departure from the club.
At the heart of the provocation are the statements that were made by Baxter on SABC Sport on Tuesday, claiming that “there were agendas within the club” and “those agendas were going to be satisfied whether I liked it or not”.
Baxter also rebutted Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung’s comment in the Sunday Times that his dismissal had to do with the coach being reluctant to use young players.
According to Zwane, things got to a head before the festive break when the Chiefs camp was hit by over 50 positive Covid-19 cases, which included the players and coaching staff.
Zwane told journalists during the club’s media event in Naturena on Thursday:
“I don’t really care simply because we are in the business of football. And when I listen to him carefully and what was said on the radio, the problem started when he was sick.”
Chiefs failed to pitch for their matches against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows in December because of positive Covid-19 cases. Amakhosi had to resort to young and inexperienced players to eventually honour the upcoming games against Sekhukhune United, Royal AM and Maritzburg United.
“So, if I were to break it down how it all started, it’s simple – he’s actually exposing himself,” said Zwane.
“We had 13 available players but the starting XI did not balance in terms of the positions. We played against Sekhukhune, and we won [2-0], we went to Royal AM and lost [1-0]. So, there was no way we could play players who were not ready to play 90 minutes. “We had to manage some.
“But at some point, we were told ‘you have to play this one’ [but] how can you tell people to play so and so who are not ready when you are sitting at home, and you are also sick?
“And then you come and say the team was going the other direction, then we came in and changed. No, those were the players available. “So, if he [Baxter] can elaborate as to when he says we backstabbed him, how [so]?”
Zwane has dared Baxter to own up. He said:
“That’s why I am breaking it down that when you look back, that was the situation at that time.
“Unfortunately, we are discussing this today. I am a little disappointed because people must own up. If it did not work out, you don’t have to shift the blame and point fingers.
“He’s the one who said he didn’t want the young players and I don’t know why he was saying that – but if he wants us to challenge him head-on, then we’ll do it because they come here and disrespect us and expect us to keep quiet.”