Baxter reaffirms Confed Cup participation

CAF Confederation Cup

Although, the 60-year-old gaffer has dropped a hint that the first-leg result at home against their play-off opponents ASEC Mimosas will determine what kind of team they choose to field in the second-leg in Cote d’Ivoire.

There have been suggestions that Chiefs should pull out of the secondary competition after they were knocked out of the principal Champions League, in controversial circumstances, by DR Congo powerhouse AS Vita, but Baxter says they will continue in the ‘other’ CAF competition.

Chiefs have their two legged play-off tie against ASEC over the weekend of April 18-20 before they travel to the West African country a week later. In between the two ASEC matches Chiefs also have crucial league encounter with Bidvest Wits, who are still mathematically title contenders.

“We have discussed it (CAF Confederation Cup) briefly with the management and we will obviously be playing the games because I am guessing that was the first question that everyone has been wondering - whether we would play the games or whether we would withdraw. We never considered withdrawing as an option even though it presents us with massive problems in terms of logistics, and in terms of energy and the loading of players,” said Baxter.

The Chiefs gaffer does, however, drop a hint that they might opt to rest some players for the competition viewed as inferior in the same way as its European equivalent – the Europa Cup – is viewed.

“[In the first leg] we will field a team that is competitive, and will try and send a team based on the first result (at home) in the away leg, being mindful of the fact that we have important games (against Wits) in between [the two fixtures]. So we will be reducing the load on certain players by not sending them while trying to remain competitive and pay respect to all competitions that we participate in… but we will certainly be mindful of the fact that the trip back and forth to the Ivory Coast is a considerable load on the players, and will be taking that into account,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chiefs vice-captain Siphiwe Tshabalala hopes they can go as far as they can and refuses to concede that the Confederation Cup is a ‘poor cousin’ of the Champions League.

“I am disappointed that we didn’t make it to the group stages [of the Champions League]. It (Confederation Cup) is not inferior because it is also a competitive competition, hence the team decided that we will participate, so we will give it our best shot and see how far we go."

"It is good that there are big teams as it will help us as a team to gain that experience as a team in the African continent so that is why I say we will give it our best,” reasons Shabba.