Stuart Baxter. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Stuart Baxter. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Returning Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter will not be on the bench when Amakhosi play the first leg of their Caf Champions League semifinal in Casablanca on Saturday.

The Briton, who returned last week for a second stint to replace the fired Gavin Hunt‚ is yet to be issued a work permit.

The Naturena club announced that assistant coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard will take charge of the match against Wydad Casablanca at the Stade Mohammed V in Morocco at 9pm SA time.

Under Zwane and Sheppard, Chiefs won their last two league matches of the Premiership season after the termination of Hunt’s contract.

“Coach Baxter will‚ however‚ travel with the team to the North African country as the team gets ready for the all-important semifinal game against the two-time Caf Champions League winners‚” Chiefs said on Monday.

Chiefs‚ who are in uncharted territory as it is their first time playing in the knockout stages of the Champions League‚ will be keen to secure a positive result ahead of the second leg in Johannesburg on June 26.

While Chiefs last played a competitive match on June 5, against TS Galaxy in the final round of the Premiership campaign‚ Wydad are in tip-top shape as the Moroccan season approaches the home stretch.

Wydad won 4-2 in midweek and 5-3 on Sunday as they opened a five-point lead at the top of the log with nine matches remaining.

They will welcome Amakhosi high on confidence, but Chiefs will have gained some self-belief from beating the north Africans in the group stages.

Chiefs were thrashed 4-0 by Wydad in a group-stage match played in neutral Burkina Faso in February due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Morocco on travellers from SA. But Chiefs got their revenge with a 1-0 home win in the reverse fixture.

The winner of this two-leg semifinal will meet either Al Ahly or Esperance in the final to be played at Wydad’s home ground.


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