Stuart Baxter defends Kaizer Chiefs CAF Champions League final defeat


Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter has moved to defend the team's failure to clinch the CAF Champions League title after what was a fairytale run to the final.

Chiefs fell at the final hurdle of the premier continental club competition as Egyptian giants Al Ahly collected their record-extending 10th African championship.

Amakhosi endured a dream run in what was a historic campaign after never progressing beyond the preliminary rounds of the competition before, but exceeded expectations by reaching the final.

Scroll through the gallery above to review how close Chiefs came to their first CAFCL title

Though they were largely undone by a rather careless red card picked up by Happy Mashiane just before half-time – with the scoreline still unchanged – Baxter believes the players should still be credited for their efforts throughout the tournament.

"If we had gone into half-time with a complete team then we could have tweaked a few things, but as it was with Happy's red card, you're going in and scrambling then, to decide [what to do]," defended Baxter after the match.

"It's a cup final, you can't go in and play 4-4-1 and only defend, so we went with a 4-3-2 and brought in Khama, which was a gamble really, because he's not played for so long.

"But even having said that, I think the goals that we gave away were poor goals. If we defend properly and normally then we can extend that time when they don't score and increase the frustration, and maybe then we get a set-play or counter-attack.

"But as it was, we gave away that first goal and then I've got to try and devise a way of getting people onto the field that can bring us back into the game, so you're trying to hit the gas to the bottom and then you really need to put the hand-break on, but...

"The lads did unbelievably well to get to where we are now to this final, so I think once the obvious disappointment of the defeat has settled, I think they will get the credit they deserve."

Check out the highlights from the final in Casablanca