Covid-19 nightmare denied Chiefs chance to pressurise Sundowns

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Stuart Baxter has rued Kaizer Chiefs’ nightmare Covid-19 outbreak in December, a repercussion of which was that a club that had appeared capable of pressurising runaway DStv Premiership leaders Mamelodi Sundowns will be denied that opportunity.

Chiefs, under a new coach in Baxter in the former Bafana boss’s second stint, and with multiple new signings, battled for fluency at the start of 2021-22.

They entered December hitting near-metronomic form that was reminiscent of how Amakhosi would grind out results when Baxter oversaw two doubles in three years in 2012-13 and 2014-15. Amakhosi had suffered two defeats, won seven games and drawn one in 10 league matches when the club was hit by 31 cases of Covid-19, which grew to more than 50.

Chiefs did not honour two games — at home to Cape Town City and away against Lamontville Golden Arrows. Somehow, derailed by multiple players and coaching staff — including Baxter — positive or isolating, they won two and lost one before the Christmas and Africa Cup of Nations break.

“I think that it would be easy for me to grasp that as an excuse,” Baxter said. “Global football has been suffering. What I would say is that many leagues have been learning as they have gone along. They’ve made a ruling and then they’ve realised, ‘We’ve got to be more flexible than that’.

“I would just hope that we can do that in SA. And I realise there’s arbitration and all these things so I can’t say too much. But I would hope that would be what comes out of this — that we move along with the knowledge we have of the situation.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in the Premiership who had anywhere near what we had. But there have been clubs who had their games postponed and rearranged.



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