Stuart Baxter, the coach of Kaizer Chiefs, confesses he had to rest several players versus Swallows because he was mindful of the strain on the squad with games coming thick and fast, and confesses he will have a "big challenge" selecting the lineup to face Cape Town City at home on Saturday.
Kearyn Baccus and Happy Mashiane were given unusual starts by Baxter, with the former finishing the game and the latter limping off with 20 minutes left with what appeared to be a foot injury, as Chiefs defeated Swallows 3-1 in the Soweto derby in Dobsonville on Sunday to relocate to second place in the standings.
Man of the match Khama Billiat's brace and Keagan Dolly's sixth league goal gave Chiefs 22 points from 13 games, eight below leaders and defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who have played one game fewer.
"It was a really tough match, the field was uncomfortable, the wind was extremely powerful, and it made excellent play impossible, however we created three classes of perfection that earned us the three goals," said the 68-year-old Briton, who led Chiefs to their last title in May 2015.
"I believe we handled the game effectively as it progressed." "I'm a little disappointed that we gave up a goal," Baxter remarked of Lebogang Mokoena's late goal.
"Conceding that goal was a horrible mistake on our part as a team, however 3-1 in a Soweto derby away from home is a terrific result."
Even with Swallows obviously done and dusted, Baxter made five replacements in the final 20 minutes, bringing in 21-year-old Sabelo Radebe, Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya, Lebogang Manyama, Kgaogelo Segota, and Siyabonga Ngezana.
Baccus debuted with Anthony Agay in center midfield, which is usually manned by regulars Phathutshedzo Nange and Cole Alexander, and with another regular, Njabulo Blom, returning from suspension, Baxter faces a selection dilemma for the Cape Town City encounter at FNB Stadium.
"It's one of those circumstances where the guys you think are going to start have to make sure they're ready because the other guys are breathing down their necks, which provides me a good dilemma."
"The burden on the players is immense with these three matches we've had in such a short period of time," Baxter remarked.
"We were aware of that fact, which is why we had so many adjustments to begin with." We also tried to lighten the load near the finish of the game.
"I believed Kearyn did a fantastic job in his role. Ntiya-Ntiya appeared and made a brief appearance. So, yes, that was enjoyable.
"The front three, Billiat, Dolly, and Bernard, did a fantastic job, and they applied pressure in the first half, which resulted in us having a couple of nice opportunities."
"Give them an inch, and they'll take a yard." They discovered some open space and scored three goals as a result."
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