Kaizer Chiefs head coach Arthur Zwane has responded to Stuart Baxter’s claim that he and Dillon Sheppard backstabbed him during his time with the club.
When speaking to SABC Sport earlier this week Baxter stated that when he was away due to Covid-19 last season, there were things that were done against his will at the Naturena-based giants by his then assistants, Sheppard and Zwane. The British tactician parted ways with Chiefs in April this year with the team struggling in the PSL.
While his son, Lee Baxter, who was serving as the goalkeeper coach, left Chiefs at the end of last season with Zwane being appointed the club's new head coach and the retired winger has now responded to Stuart's statements.
“If he can elaborate how we backstabbed him. We thought we were working with someone who we can learn from... someone that'll be our mentor. He's the one who said he didn't want the young players and I don't know why he was saying that," Zwane told the media on Thursday.
"If he wants us to challenge him head-on, then we'll do it because they come here and disrespect us and expect us to keep quiet. His son [Lee] back-stabbed him, not us because he was a problem as well.
"I don’t care simply because we are here in the business of football and when I listened to what was said on radio, [he said that] the problem started when he was sick. So, if I break it down, he (Baxter) is actually exposing himself because that weekend we played against Swallows and I was [also] sick.
“Coach Sheppy (Sheppard) followed, and when we were supposed to play Cape Town City, I was still recovering and so was Sheppy. When you look at the starting XI that played against Swallows, (Siphosakhe) Ntiya-Ntiya was in the team, (Happy) Mashiane went in. Most of the youngsters played because we already had Covid cases. In the following weekend, that number increased and I was one of those who were sick."
Covid-19 hit the Chiefs headquarters in Naturena, Johannesburg in December last year and Zwane took charge of matches against Sekhukhune United, Royal AM and Maritzburg United alongside Sheppard with Baxter missing due to a positive Coronavirus test.
“Just before my first day back at training, we had to play the game because of the pressure from outside to play in terms of the rules. We had to get 11 players and we only had a few. When I arrived at training, we had seven players available and some of them had just recovered from Covid," Zwane continued.
“Fortunately some of the players came back that time and we managed to have 13 players but they were not fit. Some of them were battling and we knew they might not even be able to finish the game. We had to find a starting XI and the team could not balance in terms of the positions.
"So we had to take players like Njabulo Blom into the middle and start with Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and many other players who were not playing regularly,” he explained.
“At some point, we were told that we needed to play this one and that one, how can you tell people to play so and so who are not ready when you are sitting at home? And then you come and say the team was going in the other direction and we came and changed it.
"But we had to use the players who were available. We played the players who were available and fit.”