|Stuart Baxter © Backpagepix
Kaizer Chiefs supporters woke up on Monday morning wondering how the wheels came off in their 4-1 humiliation against Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 quarterfinals on Sunday.
Coach Stuart Baxter has already tried to make sense of the shambles in a post-match interview as he attributed it all to lack of composure and failure to get a firm hold of the match.
By the 37th minute it was practically game over for Amakhosi as goals from Thamsanqa Sangweni, Tebogo Langerman, Lebohang Mokoena and Edward Manqele gave the home team a comfortable 4-0 advantage.
"We were stretched today and we lost control of the game. Our transition play was not as good. We lost composure,” said Baxter. “Things did not work out for us and we will need to go back to training and rectify our mistakes. I also think credit needs to be given to Sundowns who came out and played very well. I would like to wish them all the best during the competition."
Chiefs returned from the half-time break a bit stable and less dizzy than they were in the first 37 minutes. The defence held firm and Reneilwe Letsholonyane got a consolation goal on 76 minutes but the damage had already been done.
"We are going back to the training ground to put things right ahead of our next game. I saw glaring mistakes in this game where we allowed our opponents to get behind our defence. We had made lot of progress before this game and now we have taken few steps back," said Baxter
"The result is not a cause to panic from our side and this team is good enough to bounce back from this defeat. We do not have to make changes but to work on areas that we have identified as a concern. Things were not made easy when we lost Siboniso Gaxa early in the game but once again these things happen in football."
Not an ideal way to start your official match at one of SA’s biggest clubs but Baxter said there were some positives in that defeat, giving a special mention to defender Jimmy Jambo, who he said had played particularly well.
"Keegan (Ritchie) came down with a viral infection the day before the game. Jambo, who had been ruled out for 14 days, was asked to play because he had been training with the team. He agreed and the doctors asked him to put on a mask, which he refused."
"He played his heart out and, as a coach, I am pleased with this kind of commitment from my players. The second half was much better. We will react to this defeat. The players will need to put this behind them as we have an equally difficult task against AmaZulu away. We have to bounce back for sure," Baxter said.
Chiefs will have very little time to dwell on that MTN8 humiliation as they travel to Durban for a league match against AmaZulu, who were also knocked out of the MTN8 with a 2-1 defeat against Moroka Swallows. The match takes place at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday with a 6pm kick-off.