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Manqoba Responds To Baxter Claim

Manqoba Mngqithi has responded to Stuart Baxter’s claim that Kaizer Chiefs want to knock Mamelodi Sundowns “off their perch”.

Baxter had used the famous Sir Alex Ferguson line in his pre-match press conference ahead of both side’s MTN8 quarter-final, saying Chiefs want to build a team that can compete with Downs again.

The Masandawana co-head coach clearly noticed Baxter’s words but explained that he wasn’t sure how the Englishman will set up, saying Samir Nurkovic is not the perfect striker for his preferred transitional game.

“Based on the talk that he made in the media that he is also coming out guns blazing, they want to reassume their status of being a big team in the country,” Mngqithi said during a press conference.

“Because their transitional game and counter-attacking game means you are not making many initiatives to take the game for yourself.

“We know for a fact that Baxter is very dangerous in transition and already, in my mind, I’m thinking of players like (Kgaogelo) Sekgota and Keagan Dolly, but a very big contrast on (Samir) Nurkovic who is a box striker.

“If they want to play a counter-attacking game it means he must start from the halfway line to come out and I don’t think is his strength.

“That will be a bit of a compromise in terms of the structure, which is why I think they might want to come out and play in and around our box, which will make the contest very interesting.

“But they have very useful players on counter-attacks, Khama (Billiat) is also a player in that space. 

“It’s going to be interesting because at this stage we don’t know what they will do. But one thing we know, Nurkovic is a very important player for them and he must play. If they want to play a counter-attacking game, Nurkovic will forever be late in the box.

“Stuart is a very good coach, I’ve got a lot of respect for him. It’s going to be interesting how he approaches the game.”

Sundowns will host Chiefs in the MTN8 quarter-final on Sunday and will hope to better their last clash between the two sides when Amakhosi ended their unbeaten DStv Premiership run with a 2-1 victory.

Story by David Kappel (@kappilinho).