Baxter wary of ‘rude awakening’ v Downs
Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter is wary of a ‘rude awakening’ when his side take on Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Stadium on Tuesday night in their first Absa Premiership game of 2013, kick-off at 7:30pm.
The PSL season will get back underway on Tuesday night following a mid-season hiatus due to the Africa Cup of Nations that took place from the end of January into the first two weeks of February.
Now the league is set to get kick-off with a mouth-watering clash between these two South African football giants that enter the game under two very different clouds of circumstances.
The Amakhosi top the league standings with 35 points after 16 games while Sundowns hover in the very unfamiliar position of tenth with 18 points from their first 16 league games.
Still, despite his side’s impressive showing in the first half of the league season, coach Baxter is very well aware that his side can ill afford to focus on what they have achieved and they need to continue to work hard to achieve their goal of the league title.
“The performance of the boys in the first half of the season was excellent, but we have to concentrate on the here and now and not the fruits of our action, but rather our actions,” explained the Amakhosi mentor.
“If we continue to live in the here and now and concentrate on our performances there is every chance we will have a good crop of points in the second half of the season.
“But we have to be aware of our actions or we could be in for a rude awakening, especially against Sundowns.”
Baxter, however, is not trying to look too far ahead and is instead just focusing on the next game against ‘Downs.
“The next game is important, it doesn’t matter where you are in the league. The pressure of being at the top is not as bad as at the bottom – Sundowns are going to be galvanised and we are looking at a very, very difficult game on Tuesday against good opposition,” added Baxter.
“We have to go onto the field, deliver a performance and move on.”
Baxter’s counterpart, Pitso Mosimane admits he is not happy with Sundowns position on the log, but believes he has done well since coming on board.
“Of course I am not (happy with our position on the log), I think it can be better and I think we know where we came from in November,” said Mosimane.
“I have just sat on the seat; I am only four games in and there have been improvements in terms of results, but it could have been better. We have acquired eight out of 12 points.
“But no, I am not happy with position. Sundowns have a culture and pedigree to do better. It is our job as coaches and players to take the team to a respectable position.”
Looking at his side’s next game against Chiefs, Mosimane knows it will be a tough game, but they are determined to do the business on the field.
“We will work very hard against Chiefs, we want to move away from where we are and we have to win no matter who we play,” explains the Brazilians’ coach.
“The next game is key because the next game and the next result changes the format on the log. It doesn’t matter who you play the next game is important.
“We need to walk the talk and I believe it will happen against Chiefs. I expect my team to play well and I expect them to win.
“I realise we are in for a big game and we are playing against good team. Their back five is all Bafana players, the midfield have Bafana players, strikers are from Bafana – Chiefs have a big Bafana contingent and we need to double our efforts.”