JOHANNESBURG: Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter is looking to close the gap on Mamelodi Sundowns and “knocking them off their perch”.
The Glamour Boys are set to face off against Sundowns in what is expected to be an entertaining clash in the quarter-finals of the MTN8 on Sunday.
However, Baxter will not hold back against the Brazilians and believes the pressure will be on them to try and snatch a place a semi-final spot from Chiefs in a competition that has eluded Sundowns over the years.
“Sundowns have set the benchmark, and I don’t totally agree when everyone says they’ve signed all the best players,” Baxter told media in a press conference.
“You’ve still got to go out and make a team. That doesn’t entitle anyone to win championships.
“To keep winning championships is an impressive performance by everybody at Sundowns, and I’m sure that they’re proud of it.”
He added: “The sleepless nights that I may have is about working out how I can get the best out of my players and not how I can knock down the Sundowns players.
“I think the gap has increased, but again, it’s not because we couldn’t sign players, but there’s been a few reasons why gradually Chiefs have been away from that benchmark.
“I hope that the rebuilding process will lead to closing that gap [to Sundowns] and eventually knocking them off their perch. I’m sure that there are a few teams in that chasing pack that would like to do that.
“The pressure is firmly on Sundowns in the way they run the club. I mean Paris Saint-Germain have just signed Leo Messi. Now the only thing that will satisfy everybody will be a Champions League trophy.
“When you have signed as many players as Sundowns have signed, it increases that pressure in that the bar is set higher. So they will have the favourite stamp, and it’s up to the rest of us to chase them down and knock them off that perch.
“To make sure that there’s some sort of greater competition into the league because they’ve been good in making that competition pretty sparse,” Baxter concluded.