Stuart Baxter did not promise titles or a return to the glory days at his first press conference as Kaizer Chiefs coach in South Africa, but he did pledge to developing a team of "soldiers" who will work to restore the club's pride.
Baxter said it would be irresponsible to make "hot air promises to stir up enthusiasm" in a virtual digital news conference on Thursday ahead of Sunday's Carling Black Label pre-season encounter against Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium.The return of the coach who led the Chiefs to their previous era of trophy glory prior to their extraordinary six-year hiatus has already sparked excitement among the club's millions of fans.The additions of another ex-Bafana Bafana head coach, Molefi Ntseki, as head of technical and the academy, and Kaizer Motaung Junior as sporting director, as well as eight ambitious player signings, have bolstered Naturena's expectations for a turnaround.
Baxter was asked about the Chiefs' prospects for the 2021-22 season.
“As a coach, you have to be very careful about making hot air promises only to pique people's interest,” the coach responded.“Today, when I was here previously, I didn't promise that I would win anything in the first year, and I won't promise that now. Because such kinds of overly optimistic promises create pressure on the players who have to follow through on them.
“However, I can assure them [supporters] that the work we undertake here at Naturena will prepare these warriors for warfare. And I'll assure them that when we go into combat, we won't sell ourselves sho
“It's been a long time since the Kaizer Chiefs have won anything. They've come close, but they've never come out on top. It was the same situation when I first arrived.Now, hopefully, it will lead to results, group confidence, and belief in what we're doing, which will fuel better outcomes, and we'll be able to kick on and start bringing some pride to the fans and players.
“And I'm not saying it hasn't been done before; I'm just saying that's what we need to do if we're going to get the kind of results we need to win some silverware.”
After a tumultuous first term managing Bafana in 2004 and 2005, failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Baxter returned to SA football in 2012 as Chiefs coach, despite widespread skepticism. In the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons, he won league and cup doubles.From 2017 to 2019, he coached Bafana again, failing to qualify for a second World Cup (Russia 2018) but reaching the quarterfinals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt after surprising the hosts 1-0 in the second round.
In 2012, Baxter took over a Chiefs team that had been in chaos since Vladimir Vermezovic's trophy-less 2011-12 season. Amakhosi went into the transfer market with purpose back then, as it does now.
Baxter also won trophies at Naturena by getting the best out of players like Bernard Parker, Mandla Masango, George Lebese, and Tefu Mashamaite who had previously failed to realize their full potential at Chiefs.
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