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Football | Absa Premiership

Stuart Baxter © Backpagepix

Baxter looks to reinforce team



Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter revealed that the Soweto outfit will look to strengthen the team when the transfer window opens in the new year, but said wholesale changes were not necessary.

"I've got one eye on the markets and I've got one eye on Afcon," Baxter said.

"I'm hoping that we don't need to go out and buy big, but we may need just to bolster the squad a bit."

Baxter said he would be anxiously awaiting the return of his key players after the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in January next year, as injuries to his players could derail Amakhosi's solid start to the Premiership campaign.

The league concluded its action for the year on Wednesday evening with the last fixtures before the Afcon showpiece kicks off on January 19.

"If we have the slightest bit of bad luck at Afcon with our players, we could be looking thin," Baxter said, following his side's 2-0 victory over AmaZulu on Tuesday evening.

Baxter believed the break would serve the rest of the Amakhosi side well, as the team could work on a few technical aspects going forward.

"I'm not too sure that the break is going to be 100% bad for us because we need to do some work tactically," he said.

"We need to make a few small adjustments that make us a bit more difficult to play against when the opponents have got an established defence.

"On the one side, we want the season to just keep kicking on, but the other side, I think at least it will give me some time to do a bit of tactical work with the players."

He said the break would offer the players a well-deserved break as mental fatigue might have crept in towards the end of the year.

"The players may be suffering from a bit of mental fatigue that they have been at the top of the league since the first kick of the ball," he said.

"Maybe in that respect it's a chance for them to recharge their mental batteries."

Chiefs have led the league standings since the first round of fixtures, when they thrashed AmaZulu 6-0 in August, with Bernard Parker netting four goals for the leaders.

Parker has cemented his spot at the summit of the league's leading scorers list along with Moroka Swallows' Katlego Mashego, with nine Premiership goals a piece.

Having suffered a solitary 2-0 loss to Platinum Stars, Chiefs lead the standings with 35 points, one ahead of defending Premiership champions Orlando Pirates.

Platinum Stars have been a surprise element this season with 10 victories from their 16 fixtures to see them safely into the top three.

Newcomers the University of Pretoria made a remarkable start to their first ever top-flight campaign, sitting sixth with 23 points.

At the other end of the table, AmaZulu is at the bottom of the standings having claimed only two victories and suffering eight defeats.

Chippa United lie in 15th place, one point above AmaZulu, with Ajax Cape Town rounding off the bottom three with 15 points from their 16 fixtures.

SuperSport United have stuttered thus far, with 11 draws and three victories, leaving the Pretoria side lying in mid-table, 15 points off the pace.

Meanwhile, Mamelodi Sundowns suffered their worst start to a league campaign, as the Chloorkop outfit sank to last position.

Newly-appointed coach Pitso Mosimane replaced Johan Neeskens and lifted the Brazilians to 10th, with four victories, six defeats and six draws.

League runners-up last season Moroka Swallows are also among the strugglers, with the Soweto side sitting one place below Sundowns in 11th, but ended their year off on a high, when they beat Platinum Stars 2-0 on Wednesday.

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