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Knife closer to throat, says Amakhosi coach

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Stuart Baxter coach Kaizer Chiefs says pressure is the daily lot of a football caoch. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter said both he and Chippa United coach Gavin Hunt will be under pressure, but that has become the daily lot of professional coaches.

KAIZER Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter says it will be business as usual tomorrow when they host Gavin Hunt’s Chippa United “except that the knife will be closer to the throat”.

Baxter said Hunt will not have an adverse agenda on his return to FNB Stadium, where last season he guided the fortunes of Chiefs.

Baxter said both he and Hunt will be under pressure, but that has become the daily lot of professional coaches.

“Hunt’s position as a former Chiefs coach will not influence the contest,” said Baxter. “It is business as usual, except that the knife will be closer to the throat.”

Baxter used the knife reference to illustrate that coaches are under daily pressure to retain their jobs.

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He said he was the only Amakhosi coach to win a trophy in the last six years.

“Every day, coaches are under pressure – that is the nature of the job,” he said.

“I am the only coach who has won anything at Chiefs in the last six years, and you (a journalist) ask if my job is on the line. Every coach is threatened every day.”

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Chippa coach Hunt also played down the pressure element, and said it is not something that affects him after many years of coaching.

“No, I don’t feel any pressure on my side,” said Hunt. “If you have coached for as many games as I have been involved in, you don’t see it as a matter of pressure.

“Chippa will go out and do their best. We have let ourselves down in recent games.

“We will have another go on Saturday and take our chances.”

Baxter reported that all the international players were at training yesterday, and he sensed the Bafana Bafana players were in high spirits.

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“We had all the players back from the international break, and we were able to have an intense session this morning,” said Baxter.

“The lads from Bafana are in good spirits and are OK. The other lads from the national teams came back fully fit.

“During the international break, we worked hard with a reduced squad.”

There are still a few Chiefs players on the injury list.

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“Lebo (Manyama) has broken down again, and unfortunately, we have had to pull him from training,” said Baxter

“(Leonardo) Castro is working hard on returning to full fitness. (Dumsani) Zuma has started running and looking to get back. Siya (Ngezana) is not ready to play, and it is too soon to say when Samir (Nurkovic) will return after his operation.”

The matter of the goalkeeper position has been a source of hot debate among Chiefs fans, especially as it involves their favourite son, veteran Itumeleng Khune.

For now, it looks like Nigerian Daniel Akpeyi is the favoured shot-stopper.

“We have settled a little bit, not on giving the number one to Daniel, but allowing him after a couple of good performances to throw down the marker and a challenge,” said Baxter

“He is experienced, and now we probably need experience. He has been playing well, and he has done well for his national team.

“It is not that he has taken the No 1 shirt, but I feel there is no real reason to be rotating at this moment.”

Both Chiefs and Chippa are languishing near the bottom of the Premiership standings in 12th and 13th place respectively.

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