Baxter expects Chiefs to mount title challenge

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Mamelodi Sundowns have been the team to beat in domestic football and Kaizer Chiefs new coach Stuart Baxter has backed his troops to challenge the Tshwane giants for the DStv Premiership title this season.

Baxter believes Sundowns are already the favourites to win the 2021/22 Premiership title and feels the pressure will be on the defending champions after the success they have had in previous seasons and bolstering their squad with several top players.

However, the ‘Amakhosi’ coach is optimistic about his team’s chances of breaking their trophy drought in the upcoming season.

‘The Glamour Boys’ will tackle Sundowns in the MTN8 quarterfinal match at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday (15:00).

“The pressure will be on Sundowns because of the way they run the club. Paris Saint-Germain have just signed Lionel Messi and the only thing that will satisfy everybody is the Champions League trophy,” said Baxter in a virtual conference on Wednesday afternoon.

“When you sign as many players as Sundowns, you increase that pressure. The bar is set high, so they will have a favourites stamp and it is up to the rest of us to chase them down and make sure that we eventually knock them off from the top and bring some sort of great competition into the league.”

In his first stint at Chiefs, Baxter’s first encounter was against Sundowns. He lost that game but led the Soweto giants to a double that campaign – clinching the league title and Nedbank Cup.

“I would like to think that we will be the chasing pack and I would like to think that we would have a little say where the trophy goes to at the end of the season,” added Baxter.

“I think the gap has increased and it is not because we didn’t sign players. I think there have been a few things why gradually Chiefs have been away from that benchmark. I hope the rebuilding process is going on and that will lead to closing that gap and eventually knock them off.

“I’m sure there are few clubs who are thinking the same from the chasing pack that they would like to do that, and this season will be competitive and tighter,” concluded the Chiefs mentor.

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By Tokelo Mokhesi