Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter said he might have to consider leaving the club after Amakhosi strengthened their grip on the Premier League title race.
On Saturday, Amakhosi had a 1-0 victory over Chippa United at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.
The popular and successful coach made the shocking announcement after the ongoing vendetta that Chiefs’ myriad of supporters have waged against 29-year-old Zimbabwean striker Kingston Nkhatha.
Baxter said the feud – that reached a crescendo during the game – was “a totally unacceptable situation”. “Continually berating a player who has always given the club 110% effort and loyalty and is an integral part of the team,” he said.
“The only aspect that the fans can hold against Kingston is that because of his relentless, never-say-die style of play, he finds himself with more scoring opportunities than most other players and therefore logically misses scoring more often than others.
“But in spite of this he is a model, disciplined player as far as I am concerned and fills the role I have designated for him in the team’s planning.”
Baxter said he had to think “long and hard” whether it was worth remaining with a club whose supporters treated one of their own players, who had helped the team to Premier League, Nedbank Cup and MTN8 honours, in such a crass and cruel manner.
“In other respects my stay with Chiefs over the past two seasons has been everything and more than I could have expected,” he said.
“But the Nkhatha issue is a serious one and has to be redressed.”
Meanwhile Nkhatha, who failed to score from two golden opportunities against Chippa on Saturday night, has shrugged off “the boo boys” in the past with the comment: “I’m a professional. I have to take the good and the bad that is thrown at me in my stride. Otherwise it will destroy me.”
The Zimbabwean international soccer player has played more than 60 games for Chiefs since joining the club from Black Leopards three seasons ago and scored more than 20 goals.
He has remained the player the fans love to hate.
Apart from the Nkhatha issue, Baxter said he was well-pleased with the performance that left Chiefs with a dominant 14-point lead in the log table.
“We started a little lethargically, but then the players showed their professionalism when needed and the decisive goal by Bernard Parker in which half the team took part was a real gem.
“Quite frankly, I was surprised in the end that we did not score a couple of more goals.”
Chippa coach Roger Sikhakhane, however, saw the encounter in a diametrically different light. “I believe we had Chiefs measure in this game and would have inflicted the first League defeat of the season on them had we been awarded the two penalties that should have gone our way,” Sikhakhane said.
“I’m still trying to work out how the referee failed to see the infringements by Chiefs players in these two instances that should have gone our way.” While promoted Chippa are now battling to retain a position among the top eight teams in the log table after a purple patch had earlier earned them a brief second place.
Sikhakhane said he remained satisfied with the progress since the start of the season and was confident the upward trend would continue. –Sapa