Stuart Baxter praises Kaizer Chiefs’ staff for seeing players through COVID-19 epidemic

Stuart Baxter has praised the Kaizer Chiefs’ backroom staff and players for seeing them through the COVID-19 epidemic.

It was the most difficult experience of Baxter’s football career, he added. He maintains that the club performed admirably in dealing with the recent surge of cases.

The coach of the Kaizer Chiefs is overjoyed to have survived the epidemic.

The coach praised everyone’s efforts in getting through the health situation.

“It was difficult, it was difficult because I mean, I don’t know if people really understand it, they think people have gone down, they’re sick and then that’s it,” Baxter told reporters.

“We have the quarantine of the people who are not testing positive, you’ve got players missing training, and then coming back and having to go straight into a game, they’re not fit. So, even if they’re on paper on the field we don’t have a full team.

“And you’ve got all of that going on and you’ve got people when they are training. They’ve got to follow the same protocols. I can’t just take them and have them involved in my training. They’re doing a few things with the physio, and then they go to the cardiologist.

“So multiply that by 30 and then the coaching staff, Arthur (Zwane) was out, Sheppy (Dillon Sheppard) was out, then I was out, it was the physios route. If you try to put yourself into that position, and then try to win games of football.”

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Assistants carry the day

Baxter said that while planning was done as a unit, the coaches were given leeway to act as they saw fit in matches.

Kaizer Chiefs won two of their three matches they played in December.

“I thought Arthur and Sheppy did a great job. In terms of we obviously spoke while I was off. We obviously had meetings and discuss the principles of play and that. However, we decided that the coaches on the ground would have to get a bit of leeway because of the own development,” he explained.

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“And for the fact I’m not there seeing this man struggling in training can he actually play tonight, this guy needs to come off, and so, I wasn’t like Jürgen Klopp calling the bench and saying get him off, he’s not doing it.

“They had that leeway. Of course, we picked the team together, we decided the tactics together in the principles of play. We decided that if there’s anything positive, it’s going to be impairing them a little to be on the ground and make decisions there. Which I thought they did well because it was a very, very complicated situation.”

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