Stuart Baxter: What does the future hold?

Stuart Baxter, GOALGOAL
  • Stuart Baxter, coach of Kaizer Chiefs.BackpagePix.

    Disappointing return

    The British tactician was seen by some as the Messiah when he returned to Kaizer Chiefs for his second spell with the club in June 2021. Baxter had enjoyed a successful stay at the Naturena-based giants in his first stint with the club - guiding the team to two PSL titles, Nedbank Cup and MTN8 trophies between 2012 and 2015. His first match in charge of the team was against Al Ahly in the 2020-21 Caf Champions League final with the team succumbing to an embarrassing 3-0 loss in Morocco in July last year.

    The Glamour Boys looked unconvincing under Baxter with the team conceding cheap goals and failing to take their chances in front of goal as the story of their campaign under the well-travelled mentor. Chiefs were eliminated from the MTN8 in the first round at the beginning of the 2021-22 term and pressure mounted on the former Bafana Bafana head coach following the team's disappointing early exit from the Nedbank Cup when the campaign resumed following a mid-season break. Baxter parted ways with the Soweto giants on April 21 after the team's defeat to SuperSport United.

  • Stuart Baxter, Kaizer Chiefs, September 2021Backpagepix

    The story of last season

    Having watched Chiefs defeat their arch-rivals Orlando Pirates on penalties in the Carling Black Label Cup, a high-profile pre-season match in August last year, Baxter's side was brought down to earth by Mamelodi Sundowns two weeks later. Chiefs were defeated by Sundowns in their maiden competitive game of the 2021-22 season - crashing out of the MTN8 in the quarter-finals in the process. A draw with TS Galaxy and a win over Baroka were followed by a four-match winless run in the Premier Soccer League - including a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Royal AM.

    However, Amakhosi hit some form in November - embarking on a five-match unbeaten run which included four wins and one draw with the team looking like potential PSL title contenders. Upon recovering from Covid-19 which had hit the club's headquarters in Naturena, Johannesburg just before the mid-season break, Baxter came under heavy criticism following a loss to TS Galaxy in the Nedbank Cup Last 32 game in February this year. The Phefeni Boys looked like they had turned the corner when they extended their unbeaten run to three matches with a 2-1 win over Pirates on March 5.

    The victory was followed by a humbling 1-0 loss to Lamontville Golden Arrows which recreated pressure on the coach and the team began producing inconsistent results. A 1-0 loss to SuperSport United on April 21 was the last straw as it led to Baxter's departure from the Glamour Boys amid calls from the club's fans to sack him. During his second spell with Chiefs, the former SuperSport United coach took charge of 26 matches across all competitions - winning 11, with nine defeats and six draws. 

  • Stuart Baxter coach of Kaizer Chiefs.BackpagePix.

    Any transfer rumours?

    A coach of Baxter's calibre is usually not short suitors and that has been the case as the Swedish Allsvenskan title-winning coach has been linked with several coaching jobs. AmaZulu FC were the first local club to be credited with an interest in the Wolverhampton-born mentor following Benni McCarthy's sacking three months ago, but Usuthu have since revealed that Brandon Truter will be in charge of the team in the new 2022-23 campaign. There is a coaching position vacant at Royal AM following the departure of John Maduka who has since joined Maritzburg United.

    In flamboyant and ambitious owner Shauwn Mkhize, Royal AM have a chairperson who has the means to bring in Baxter as their new head coach. The two-time PSL Coach of the Season was rumoured to be the highest-paid coach in local top-flight during his recent spell with Chiefs - earning a staggering R850,000 per month. Only a handful of PSL clubs can afford Baxter and one of them is Royal AM, the Durban side is yet to be linked with the former England under-19 head coach.

    Looking outside South Africa, Baxter has been approached by former Tanzanian champions Simba SC and the mentor has indicated that he is yet to make a decision regarding his future having held talks with several clubs and Football Associations or Federations. It has also been reported that Baxter rejected a national team offer from Central America after parting ways with Chiefs. There is no doubt that the retired midfielder will soon find a new home due to the numerous offers he has received after leaving Amakhosi.

  • Stuart Baxter, Kaizer Chiefs, August 2021Backpagepix

    One big fear for 2022/23

    Joining a club or taking charge of a national team which shows a lack of patience for him. The 68-year-old has been a victim of a lack of patience at times. Turkish club Genclerbirligi terminated his contract after defeats in the first two games of the 2015/16 season.

    Some may argue that Baxter deserved to be given more time to build his own team at Chiefs given his previous successful spell with the club. He had limited time to prepare the team for the 2021-22 term with Amakhosi players having a short off-season break and pre-season due to the long and taxing 2020-21 campaign which ended in July 2021. 

  • Stuart Baxter, Kaizer Chiefs, July 2021Backpagepix

    One big hope for 2022/23

    For the four-time Nedbank Cup-winning coach to take charge of a club or national team that will give him time to settle down and build his own team. 

    Baxter was able to bring success to his former clubs, Chiefs (first stint), Helsingborgs and AIK of Sweden having been given time to instil his philosophy and sign players who fitted into his style of his play. He repaid the South African Football Association's faith in him in his second spell as Bafana coach by leading the team to the 2019 Afcon quarter-finals.  

  • Stuart Baxter Kaizer ChiefsBackpagepix

    GOAL’s prediction for 2022/23

    In his 37-year coaching career, Baxter has won trophies in different countries. Wherever Baxter goes in his next chapter of his coaching career he will succeed if he is given support, time and patience by the club's management or FA.