Baxter quits Kaizer Chiefs
Kaizer Chiefs and championship-winning coach Stuart Baxter have agreed to part.
Baxter, still contracted to the club for a year, will depart after three years in which he delivered two league titles, the Nedbank Cup and MTN8 trophies.
Chiefs fans should brace for a new-look Amakhosi next season, minus Itumeleng Khune in goal. A Chiefs team, almost unchanged for three seasons - during which they enjoyed unprecedented success in the PSL era - is set for a reshuffle.
The biggest bombshell is that the architect of that success, Baxter, and Chiefs have agreed to part. This is expected to be announced at a press conference at Chiefs' Naturena headquarters on Tuesday, which Baxter is flying back from his holiday in Sweden to attend.
Two sources close to Chiefs have said that:
Baxter and the club have agreed to go their separate ways with a year left on the contract. Baxter revealed recently he has had offers from clubs in Europe.
Chiefs will target Maritzburg United coach Steve Komphela as Baxter's replacement.
Komphela would have to bring his own assistant coach because current Chiefs assistant Doctor Khumalo would not want to continue under the former Bafana Bafana captain.
Khune is on the way out. The Motaung family are apparently united in the view that ex-captain Khune has reached his expiry date at Amakhosi. Khune, whose contract ends on June 30, is believed to be poised to sign for Mamelodi Sundowns.
There is still a chance captain and PSL player, players' player and defender of the season Tefu Mashamaite will stay at Naturena. Mashamaite is in negotiations to renew his contract, which also ends in June. Chiefs are still the centre-back's first choice, but Sundowns are interested if talks fall through.
Chiefs have signed centre-back Daniel Cardoso from Free State Stars.
Amakhosi are trying to sign another centre-back, Siyanda Xulu, whose career has been going nowhere at FC Rostov in Russia. The player has a year left on his contract but is trying to get it terminated by Fifa.
The two defenders would be signed as cover for a position where Mashamaite and central partner Mulomowandau Mathoho, who has attracted interest from Belgian clubs, could both leave. The pair were central in Chiefs conceding just 14 goals in winning the Absa Premiership with a record 69 points.
Amakhosi apparently believe they can develop young goalkeepers Reyaad Pieterse and Brilliant Khuzwayo. Khune, who is believed to have had a big offer from Sundowns that Chiefs did not want to match, said he could not comment on his future until an official announcement by the club.
Komphela could not be reached for comment but his agent, Tim Sukazi, said he has had no request for the Maritzburg coach's services from Chiefs. "To be honest, I have had no formal approach from Chiefs," Sukazi said.
"If I were Chiefs and I lost a coach of Baxter's calibre I would also look no further than Steve.
"If Baxter were to leave Chiefs I would expect that call."
Contacted in Sweden, Baxter said he could not comment.
He said recently Chiefs will need significant restructuring.
The coach has also admitted to tensions between him and the club last season, especially over key striker Kingston Nkhatha being allowed to leave to SuperSport United.
Football manager Bobby Motaung said he had no comment.
Komphela was Baxter's assistant coach for Bafana Bafana in 2004 and 2005.
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