Stuart Baxter (Image courtesy of Kaizer Chiefs website)
Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter admitted that his decision to bring on Khama Billiat against Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League final “was a gamble” following the Glamour Boys emphatic 3-0 defeat on Saturday.
The Zimbabwean international was introduced off the substitutes bench at the start of the second-half as Baxter reacted to Happy Mashiane’s red card on the stroke of half-time at the Mohamed V Stadium.
However, Pitso Mosimane’s charges took advantage of the extra man and shifted gears with extreme momentum, scoring three goals, courtesy of Mohamed Sherif, Mohamed Afsha, and Amr El Solia to secure bragging rights on the night.
In reflecting on the final, Baxter said: “If we had gone into half-time with a complete team then we could have tweaked a few things, but as it was with Happy’s red card, you are going in and scrambling then, to decide [what to do].
“It’s a cup final, you can’t go in and play 4-4-1 and only defend, so we went with a 4-3-2 and brought in Khama, which was a gamble really, because he’s not played for so long.
“But even having said that, I think the goals that we gave away were poor goals. If we defend properly and normally then we can extend that time when they do not score and increase the frustration, and maybe then we get a set-play or counterattack.
“But as it was, we gave away that first goal and then I have got to try and devise a way of getting people onto the field that can bring us back into the game, so you are trying to hit the gas to the bottom and then you really need to put the hand-break on, but…
“The lads did unbelievably well to get to where we are now to this final, so I think once the obvious disappointment of the defeat has settled, I think they will get the credit they deserve.”