Baxter: Itu won’t just walk back in

Premiership

The solid performances by back-up shot-stoppers Brilliant Khuzwayo and Reyaad Pieterse has given Khune the luxury of completely healing from his injury without rushing the process, which has given coach Baxter a reason to smile despite missing the man who has been the first-choice goalkeeper at Chiefs for the past seven years

Stuart Baxter says the performance of the goalkeeping duo of Brilliant Khuzwayo and Reyaad Pieterse has given Itumeleng Khune the luxury of completely healing from his nagging ankle with the Kaizer Chiefs coach declaring that the influential club captain will not walk back into the team upon his recovery.

“Reyaad and Brilliant have given me the luxury that I don’t have to push Itu in his rehab,” Baxter tells KickOff.com.

“I am guessing if they were dropping goals left, right and centre then I would be on the phone to the medics saying ‘listen get this guy (Khune) back in’. What they (Khuzwayo and Pieterse) have done is give me the luxury and given Itu the luxury to make sure that he is 100 percent before he comes back which is a perfect world.

“I am happy with both of them and I am pleased for both of them because they have worked very hard. However, just like the rest of the team they have to keep their feet on the ground because you know it is a game and if they screw up then maybe we will be chasing Itu and making sure that he gets back a bit quicker,” he says.

 

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Khune is now back in his boots and jogging with the rest of his teammates at Naturena although he is still not yet fully recovered from the ankle injury that has been bothering him since February.

However, the English tactician says that when he is available, Khune will not be afforded the comfort of walking straight back into the starting line-up. making reference to how Siphiwe Tshabalala has had to fight his way back.

“Off course not, in the same way that Shabba or Bernard (Parker) simply didn’t just walk in when they came back,” Baxter says.

“We know that and this group knows that competition is what should drive them. I don’t know if anybody picked up on it but Shabba’s work rate [on Sunday] was according to our statistics 15% more than anything that he has given us this season.

“Why was this like that? He got into the team yesterday because of the injury to someone else and his performance was telling us that I want to stay in the team. So that is how competition should drive you.

“So I am sure for Itu if he has to wait a couple of weeks before he gets back in … and when he gets back in he will be pumped up and ready to rumble. So that is what we want. We want people to value being in the team and value occupying the shirt and not take it for granted.”

 

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