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Stuart Baxter eyes Nedbank Cup history before joining Bafana Bafana

Posted: 19 May 2017 Time: 16:19

SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter says he wants to become the first coach to retain the Nedbank Cup trophy before taking over the Bafana Bafana job next month.

The reigning Nedbank champions will visit Chippa United in their cup semifinal at Sisa Dukashe stadium on Saturday, hoping to avenge their 3-0 league loss to the same opponents at the Nelson Mandela Bays stadium on Wednesday.

Baxter previously won this competition with his former employers Kaizer Chiefs in 2013, beating his current employers at the same venue that this year's final will be taking place – the Moses Mabhida stadium.

The last team to retain this trophy was Amakhosi, who succesfully defended the then-Benson and Hedges Trophy in 1977.

However, the British tactician is keen to help SuperSport become the first team to succesfully defend this particular cup in 40 years, before taking up his Bafana Bafana post.

"It is a massive game and not for me, personally, it [making history] is not an important thing for me," Baxter told reporters.

"The important thing is yes, we do want to win [the trophy], but the players deserve it after a very tough season in which they've worked very hard. I'd love to win the cup, and not for me but for the players to get the reward I believe they deserve.

"Football is not always a nice game; it is not always logical; it's not always fair; but I think the players have worked very, very hard and therefore I'd like us to take the cup.

"We are also the holders and we'll be the first team to have ever defended this cup, so we want to retain it because it's important to win things.

"We are professionals and we've had a good season, but to make it a great season we've got to win something. It is difficult to go through the season not winning anything and they say 'you had a great season'.

"So in that respect, as professionals, it is important because we'll be setting a record if the team retains it, and there are many, many reasons why this semifinal is an important game."

Baxter, who has never before played at the Sisa Dukashe stadium, did not want to divulge where he'll be looking to exploit the weaknesses of his opponents, but feels returning coach Dan Malelsea will be gunning to repeat the result in midweek.

"We are quite aware on what Chippa bring to the party and areas we can exploit. I'm sure they think the same about us," he added. "But we are probably the easiest team in the league to read because we've got a clear way of playing. It'll be a good game.

"In saying that, I've been there in East London but I don't think I can recall that I've played there [at Sisa Dukashe], so I've never been there. I've visited the venue previously as the national team coach but I don't think I've had a run there, no."

Matsatsantsa will be boosted by the return of experienced trio Thuso Phala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Onismor Bhasera, who all missed the last outing through suspension, however, fullback Keagan Ritchie will wit out after being sent off on Wednesday evening.

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala
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