Football is a very strange game, and many people say it build societies and bring people together.
Very often we see players rubbing coaches the wrong way, and as a result lose their place in the coach's team. But there are few players who get to have a strong bond with their coach. At times it looks like the player and the coach were separated at birth, minus race factor. This is the type of relationship we see between Stuart Baxter and Kingston Nkhatha.
The two are like father and son. Since they first worked together at Kaizer Chiefs, fate seems to have destined the two for life. Nkhatha was booed out of Naturena when Baxter was still coach, and went on to join SuperSport United. Many Chiefs fans were never satisfied with Baxter playing Nkhatha week-in and week-out, with the forward firing blanks.
When it seemed like Baxter and Nkhatha were separated for good, fate decided otherwise. Baxter left SA for Turkey, but as we all know you can't cheat fate, the duo were re-united at Matsatsantsa. As expected, Nkhatha has played almost every game under Baxter's tutorship.
The relationship between the two is like that of Muhsin Ertugral and Jabu Pule (now Mahlangu). Ertugral and Pule worked together at Chiefs from 1999, and forged a die-hard relationship. Despite Pule troubles, Ertugral stood by his side through everything. It's very rare to see a player and his coach have such close relationship, but when it happens one needs to admit it admirable.
Pule always fought for Ertugral whenever on the field of play and the same could be said about Nkhatha, who's always giving his all to repay the English mentor. It's safe to say Nkhatha is to Baxter what Pule was to Ertugral. These are match made in heaven. The Zimbabwean is hitting the back of the net, even though he's not scoring regularly. But converting his chances is enough to justify why Baxter loves him so much.
*This article was written by a Soccer Laduma reader and reflects their opinion, not that of Soccer Laduma.