Baxter has it all in hand


“I love winning,” Baxter said following Amakhosi’s 4-1 win over Polokwane City last week which saw his side scoop the Absa Premiership title with three games left to play.

At FNB Stadium in a press conference hall full of journalists, Baxter leaned forward closer to the microphone with a smug look on his face as he began to talk about his obsession of winning every encounter he participates in – be it in a league match or a simple game of chess he would play once in a while with his son.

“I love beating my son at chess,” he says, before demonstrating how he celebrates his triumphs after a good game.

“I pump my fist (in the air) like this,” he shows with his fist clenched. “That’s just how I am. I love winning. I love the feeling of getting some sort of confirmation that says to me, ‘You are doing okay’.

“I think we (as people) are programmed to live that way. I wouldn’t go as far to say that the fear of losing drives me, because it doesn’t. It’s the pleasure of winning which does. A win will take me about 10 hours to get over before the next game and a defeat will last me about 10 days (for him to get over it). That’s just how I am.”

It is losing out to Mamelodi Sundowns last season in a PSL title race, however, that served as the impetus for Amakhosi not to slip this time around. Sundowns came from behind to overtake Chiefs last season, denying them an opportunity of defending their title. The Glamour Boys simply cracked under pressure and Pitso Mosimane’s charges pounced on the opportunity. Sundowns were crowned champions with a record 65 points since the PSL was reduced to 16 teams in 2002.

Shockingly, Baxter’s charges did not celebrate following their triumph against City. Baxter said it was too early to celebrate.

“The job is not done yet,” he said. “Our players are programmed to play a season and until we finish our remaining fixtures (for this season), we won’t celebrate (the league title) yet.”

And with that comes an opportunity to rub more salt into an open Sundowns wound. Chiefs play the Chloorkop side on Wednesday night away and a win could see them break Downs’ PSL points record.

Baxter admitted that a win against Sundowns would fulfil the longed-for revenge they’ve been working towards this season.

“I would be lying if I said it doesn’t feel like some sort of personal revenge,” he admitted. “Not on (Mamelodi) Sundowns but on ourselves. We felt that we gave it away last season. Sundowns had done a fantastic job to keep us under pressure and as a result we gave it away. And now to go there in the knowledge that we’ve already won the league is great. But it would be very disappointing for us to go there and not win because that’s how I am, and that’s what I expect from the team. They should be like me.

“In my time in Sweden, I was interested in some of the top Swedish tennis players – your Björn Borg in terms of how they played their game. And one of them – Mats Wilander – he went on TV and said making it to the Australian final it was a dream come true for him. You want to know what happened next. He was smashed in the final because he had revealed to the public that he had fulfilled his dream. I don’t want that to happen to my players because we’ve got few more games left play and we must do well in all of them.”

Meanwhile, Baxter dedicated Chiefs’ title to the Amakhosi legend John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu who will be laid to rest tomorrow in Soweto, following his untimely death after his long battle with cancer.

“I’m a Scot. People look at me and think that I’m English but look at myself as being a Scot. One of our great heroes (Sir) William Wallace once said, ‘All man must die and not all man will live’, and even if John (Moshoeu) was taken from us too early, I believe that he lived. And so let’s celebrate that. That victory (against Polokwane on Wednesday night) will surely help us celebrate Shoes’ life. He truly lived.”

Original source: Baxter has it all in hand