|Shooting from the lip: Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter|
AS I write this, Stuart Baxter is on the Kaizer Chiefs bus struggling to come to terms with an MTN8 semi-final defeat at the hands of his old rivals Orlando Pirates.
And he is running and re-running video replays of the incident which turned the second leg around: the 74th minute penalty which ensured a home draw for the Buccaneers, who advance to Saturday’s final 2-1 on aggregate after their 1-0 first leg win.
Double-winning Baxter, the first foreign coach ever to win the PSL in his first year as a club coach in South Africa, is not a fool. He doesn’t put his foot in it, like Clinton Laursen famously did live on camera earlier this season after Bloemfontein Celtic red card against Mamelodi Sundowns.
He’s calm. He’s contained. But he’s fuming after seeing Bernard Parker’s first half rebound cancelled out by Lennox Bacela’s spot kick.
I cannot quote everything he said. I can tell you he did send two post-match SMSes which made my blackberry go bright red.
What I can say is this. Stuart Baxter feels desperately aggrieved. He has no personal issue with referee Daniel Bennett but his opinion deserves to be aired.
|The fateful moment: Gould pulls Bacela's shirt|
Picture from @matipwili on Twitter
A discussion followed. On the bus, other opinions were being thrown about it the background. Obviously the Chiefs technical staff and their players sounded distinctly unhappy, as you'd expect. Much was said.
Here’s what I can quote from Baxter: “I had to be cautious after the game. I’ve blamed referees before and been wrong. I didn’t want to do that again.
“But now I’ve had a look at the incident, I’m confused. The level of Morgan’s contact on Bacela was much as it was on ANY corner at either end during the game. If he’s going to give a penalty for that, there would be penalties all day.
“In the modern day, there is always contact in the box on corners. One of our lads too an elbow in the face when their lad (Rooi Mahamutsa) was booked earlier in the game. That’s football these days, that’s what happens.
“I cannot understand this decision. I thought we’d weathered the storm when they hit the bar (Vieira Masalesa header after Siya Sangweni nod-back) but the penalty came just as we were starting to get back in the game.
“We ruled the first half. I don’t understand why we lost momentum second half. Their substitute Sifiso Myeni is a good player, he helped change the game. But we were playing long balls. We stopped playing for 20 minutes.
“In the end, we have to accept this result. It’s tough. But there you are. Best I don’t give you the full weight of my opinions right now!”
Baxter, always a great talker with encouraging ideas about development and the future, managed to contain his fury. Roger de Sa on the opposing bench could hardly contain his joy after a dramatic and entertaining Soweto derby at a sold-out Orlando Stadium.
Roger, whose Sea Robbers reached the last four of the African Champions League on Sunday, said: “We’ve done to great clubs like Al Ahly and Kaizer Chiefs in 24 hours (actually it’s 48 Roger!) and that can’t be bad. My boys never stopped running, we worked and worked.
“They were on top in the first half, but Myeni changed things, we came back in to it. It’s been tough. Two massive game like that in such a short space of time. Oupa Manyisa? How much running did he do today? Young Masilesa has stood up so well too.
“But we have a day off now. I hope my dog won't bite me, I haven' been home so long he might not remember who I am! Then the final in Durban on Saturday. We’ll be ready.”
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