Wednesday night brings to South Africa a highly anticipated affair. SuperSport United will take on Kaizer Chiefs, and it is no ordinary fixture. A little over a year ago, Stuart Baxter walked out the door at Naturena and took some prized possessions with him on the way out. It's almost the Chiefs of yesterday against the Chiefs of today… Who will emerge victorious?
It truly whets the appetite to think of the Hollywood-like drama that could unfold before our eyes in this fixture. Stuart Baxter was a highly successful coach for Chiefs, with two league-winning campaigns in three years. No one is quite sure what happened from thereon out as the doors to management at football clubs are notoriously well-fastened and opaque. However, the result was that Baxter walked out the door and left for Turkey.
That lasted just short of 48 hours and Baxter was back in South Africa once again, this time wearing a blue tie. And then the players started to follow: Reyaad Pieterse, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, and Tefu Mashamaite, and Mandla Masango may very well be next – these were all core Amakhosi players.
It truly makes one wonder what really happened behind the scenes. Why did Baxter leave after such success? Why did some of the core players of the team follow him? And why did all the players supposedly signed for Baxter at Chiefs stay there and are now forming part of the team that has struggled to do anything inspiring since Baxter's departure? Steve Komphela's Chiefs still have a lot to prove.
"Did Baxter smell a rat?" was the question raised by an ex-Chiefs legend and coach in the latest and 1000th edition of Soccer Laduma, and it is a relevant question. Did he see the demise of Chiefs coming, and therefore jumped ship before things got bad?
More importantly, did Baxter not have as much control as he would have liked over signing players at Chiefs? This could be the case as the current SSU team gives us an indication of what Baxter really wanted Amakhosi to look like.
Wednesday night's game will prove a lot; it will be a huge reflection on Chiefs management. If SSU emerges victorious, it will leave a free-range egg on the face of Naturena management as they would have lost to an ex-coach and a number of players they deemed not worthy of compromising for in order to get them to stay.
Tonight will prove a lot; it will be a battle of the egos. It is Stuart Baxter's Chiefs vs Steve Komphela's Chiefs. However, no matter who wins, let's just hope that it is a feast for the eyes of the supporters.
What are your thoughts on Baxter facing Chiefs tonight?