Kaizer Chiefs have made a rather uncertain start to the 2013/14 PSL campaign, with the club losing two of their first five league and cup matches.
It also seems to have been a time of experimentation for coach Stuart Baxter, as he at times has utilised the 3-5-2 formation with mixed success.
The foundation of Chiefs’ success last season seemed to be built on the 4-4-2 formation, nonetheless Baxter continues to show plenty of faith in the 3-5-2 system.
The English coach also appears to face a conundrum about how to best utilise Knowledge Musona within his starting line-up.
He has placed confidence in the Zimbabwean hit-man by keeping him in the starting-11 alongside Bernard Parker, however this has left the likes of Lehlohonolo Majoro and Kingston Nkhatha increasingly marginalised.
Majoro and Nkhatha played a huge role in Chiefs’ double success last season, meaning there could be a risk they lose confidence by not getting game time.
While it’s still very early stages of the new season for the double-winning coach, it’s fair to say then that the next 13 days could be a defining time for Baxter in the 2013/14 season.
Chiefs’ first test comes in the form of Maritzburg United in the PSL on Saturday (14 September).
Read: Chiefs and Maritzburg: A Close History
Three days later (17 September) they travel away to play against the always competitive Bloemfontein Celtic in the league.
The following Saturday (21 September) Baxter’s charges take on a quality Platinum Stars outfit in another league encounter.
Additionally, three days later (24 September) it’s the second leg of the MTN8 semi-final against Orlando Pirates. Chiefs have to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.
This means that in the course of the next 13 days, Chiefs face four tough matches against quality opposition. And, that any tactical and personnel switches made by Baxter will come under the microscope.
However, a good run in the next four games could allow Chiefs to get their season off and running, and put to bed any doubts that might have arisen after the uncertain opening to the new campaign.
By David Minchella
Follow David on Twitter: @DavidLaduma