It’s been a while since my last piece , so lots has happened. To go through it all would take until ‘midsommar’ so some snapshots will have to do. African Cup of nations came and went and was won by a Nigeria who played better than the rest but were not great. The powerhouse teams from the past like Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal etc come and go because no one prioritises development, coach education or talent identification. Therefore to have long term success is very difficult and until the lunatics stop running the asylum we will keep on taking turns at being champs. South Africa did ok but we cannot say that we are ambitious when we are satisfied with a quarter final on home soil. The nerves of a penalty shoot out proved to be too much but to be honest this was a tournament that they could of won given the lack of outstanding opposition. The event was again well run by corporate South Africa and showed once again that the country is ready to take the world on a sporting safari given the chance.
Kaizer Chiefs have gone quite well! Drawn a couple of games we should of put to bed ,so that’s why we only lead by five points with one more game played. The crazy part is that when the boys have done such a great job to put us where we are with only eight games to go , the policy of moving home games means we don’t play on our home ground again this year!!!
Yes ! !we have to travel all over the country playing home games four hours away from our stadium and spend 20 days in April outside of Joburg. Doing it the hard way or what ? We are also in the quarter finals of the cup and our game is in Blomfontein, four hours on the bus with our friendly formula 1 driver. I can see the players making the sign of a cross when we discuss travelling arrangements , they considered a collection for a charter but that failed at the second round of voting.
We are playing Blomfontein Celtics today( in the league ) , a tough opponent on their home ground. Big crowd , aggressive style and Chiefs haven’t beaten them in Blomfontein since 1999!! Still we are doing ok ,our football has become a little less flamboyant but more efficient. Since getting Morgan Gould, Bafana defender, back, we have played the last four games using a three centre back defence with very high wing backs when we attack. We have scored eight and conceded one goal in these games so now we can choose how to play depending on our opponents or players available.
My daughter Natalie arrived just before her birthday last week. She is my coach on everything from the cosmos to my clothes, my feelings to my food. She is getting far too much like me and at just turned twenty that’s a lot of opinions and talking. She is however a wonderful person,(that’s where we differ)and it was great to see her after her travels. She ,her mom and brother Sean fly to Sweden next week and are already looking forward to all the things that they miss and obviously can’t wait to see the family and friends. Me ? I will have to stick it out here with the 26* c sunshine , the cape blend red wine, and eight cup finals we have left in front of fantastic crowds. …..It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it!!!
Stay healthy Sweden, go well and enjoy Allsvenskan.
Yours in sport
Förre HIF-tränaren Stuart Baxter bloggar här på Alltid Fullsatt om sitt liv som coach för serieledarna Kaizer Chiefs i Sydafrika. Läs hans tidigare inlägg här!