Stuart Baxter: Kaizer Chiefs want to knock Mamelodi Sundowns off their perch

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Speaking ahead of Sunday's MTN8 quarter-final encounter, Baxter made clear that his side were out to narrow the gulf in class between the reigning league champions and other teams.

"Sundowns have set the benchmark, and I don't totally agree when everyone says they've signed all the best players," the former Bafana Bafana coach said. 

"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."

Chiefs have enjoyed a busy market of their own, having made no fewer than nine new signings, and Baxter stresses that his job is to build his new-look team into a force that can close the gap and ultimately surpass Sundowns as South Africa's dominant football club.

"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," Baxter added. 

"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."

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