Being able to man manage some of the biggest names in South African football will never be the easiest of tasks for any coach or trainer. Big money contracts can often mean big ego’s and that we know… can be a problem.
However, it’s not always egos coaches have to deal with. Things like personal vendettas, ailing careers and psychological issues all form part of man managing footballers. Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter is a master in this regard. Let’s now take a look at three Amakhosi players who are in the form of their lives due to Baxter’s influence on them as a man manger.
Masha joined Chiefs in the 2011/2012 Absa Premiership season and his impact at the club was not felt straight away. He made the odd appearance here and there because of the stiff competition he faced. Along came Baxter the following season and we gradually began seeing more of Mashamaite. Last season was the season he completely rubber stamped his approval at the club, forming a powerful partnership alongside Eric Mathoho in defence. This season, he has been entrusted with the captain’s armband in the absence of Itumeleng Khune, this just an indication of Baxter reliance and faith in Masha.
Prior to this season, Mandla Masango was for many years considered a fringe player at Naturena. Yes, he may have shown glimpse of what he is capable of doing, however he never really managed to stake his claim in the Chiefs starting XI. After constant moulding by Baxter, the British born mentor began giving Bullet more chances within the first team. What may have come as an eye-opener for the trickster was him being transfer listed at the beginning of the season. Ever since the turn of the season, Masango looks a different player with Baxter no doubt being confident of Masango performing every single time.
Katsande was in a situation where he needed to alter or fine tune the way he was playing. Salt and Vinegar was a player who flew recklessly into tackles, picking up many bookings as a result. After much needed tweaking , Katsande can be regarded as a Chiefs maestro as opposed to a hard man. He is now a more refined passer of the ball and makes less 50/50 crunching tackles.
With that said, do you think Baxter is the best man manger in the country?