Baxter and Ntseki travelling to Morocco to back up Chiefs’ caretaker coaching duo against Wydad
Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard may be inexperienced as caretaker coaches in Kaizer Chiefs’ Caf Champions League semi-final against Wydad Casablanca, but they will be assisted in the travelling party by vastly experienced Stuart Baxter and Molefi Ntseki.
With new head coach Baxter awaiting his work permit, Zwane and Sheppard will be on the bench in the first leg of the semi-final against Wydad at Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Saturday night (8pm in Morocco, 9pm SA time).
The pair oversaw two DStv Premiership wins at the end of Chiefs’ DStv Premiership campaign after the firing of Gavin Hunt as head coach to scramble a top eight place, but lack experience.
Chiefs’ communications manager Vina Maphosa revealed Baxter and new head of technical and the academy Ntseki will leave with the team for Morocco on Wednesday.
The presence of the two ex-Bafana Bafana head coaches will add significantly to the brains trust in the technical staff on the huge occasion of Amakhosi’ first Champions League semi-final.
“Chiefs also have coach Molefi Ntseki as the head of technical, so we have beefed up the technical staff with the arrival too of coach Stuart Baxter. Chiefs are leaving no stone unturned,” Maphosa said.
“Make no mistake, take nothing away from Arthur and Dillon, who are raring to go. But it will be good to have the experience there of the new head coach Baxter and Ntseki, the head of technical.”
Ntseki was Baxter’s assistant-coach at Bafana until 2019, then took over as head coach until late March this year.
Chiefs are the shock entrants into the 2020-21 Champions League semis given six domestic seasons without a trophy, an eighth-placed finish in the Premiership, and that they had never previously reached the group stage.
The coach who guided them there will not have the opportunity to take them further. Hunt was fired with Chiefs in 11th place in the PSL on May 28, after just two wins in 16 league matches.
Baxter, who won league and cup doubles at Amakhosi in 2012-13 and 2014-15, was appointed back to the club on June 9.
Chiefs lost 4-0 to Wydad in the away match in neutral Burkina Faso in the group stage. Nine-man Amakhosi beat the 2017 Champions League winners 1-0 in the return match, though Wydad, having already reached the quarter-finals, brought a second-string team to Johannesburg and without coach Faouzi Benzarti, who was receiving his Covid-19 vaccination.
Wydad topped Group C and Chiefs finished second.