KAIZER Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter insisted on Monday that the allegations against team manager Bobby Motaung in the Mbombela Stadium fraud case have not had any effect on the popular club’s operations.
Motaung and two fellow directors at Lefika Emerging Equity — Herbert Theledi and Chris Grib — were arrested last week on charges related to tender fraud in the construction of Mpumalanga’s R1.2bn Mbombela Stadium. Motaung was released on R50,000 bail the next day.
Chiefs have insisted Motaung’s arrest is a private matter and Baxter reiterated that stance on Monday, insisting it was business as usual at Naturena.
"I have not asked the players (about the arrest) and, myself, I try not to speak on other people’s private matters," the Briton said.
"So I would not like to comment on other people’s private matters because it has absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. It is a private matter and that is it."
Chiefs face nemesis Sundowns in a tough league match that is the pick of the midweek programme at Soccer City on Wednesday night.
This league encounter comes just two weeks after Chiefs were on the receiving end of a 4-1 humiliation by Sundowns in an MTN8 quarterfinal match.
Baxter said on Monday that he knew better than to attempt to reduce the significance of that emphatic defeat and would not offer clever explanations to supporters as to how the illustrious club lost 4-1 in his debut match in charge.
"I have learnt in my career not to try to talk away bad defeats because it just sounds like sour grapes.
"So whether the final result was flattering to them (Sundowns) or not, it is better to be left unsaid. We certainly did not defend like we were supposed to and did not play as we were supposed to. We had chances to peg them back but we did not do it. We are not happy with that result and we want to put it straight."
Chiefs bounced back from the defeat to Sundowns in style, beating AmaZulu 6-0 in a league match that Baxter said was crucial for the restoration of morale.
"The game against AmaZulu was a great response by the players after the disappointment of the Sundowns game. It was important to the team that we responded that way."
In one of only two matches on Tuesday, AmaZulu host provincial rivals Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium.
It may be early days but the sight of AmaZulu at the foot of the table should be cause for concern for those who follow the KwaZulu-Natal side, as moving up from the basement is always difficult.
Coach Roger Palmgren should be well aware that AmaZulu supporters do not deal very well with early setbacks, and only a positive result against Maritzburg will suffice after the 6-0 trashing by Chiefs.
In Tuesday’s other match, newcomers Chippa United host wily coach Steve Komphela’s Free State Stars at Athlone Stadium.
Chippa have faced a tough baptism since their promotion and, after their defeat to Sundowns in their opening match in the premiership, they now have to contend with Stars. Chippa have been forced to move their games to Athlone as their home ground, Philippi Stadium, requires refurbishment to meet Premier Soccer League (PSL) standards.
But the City of Cape Town told Business Day last month it would not be financially viable to upgrade the home venues of local clubs "as and when they are promoted".
"The city’s position is that any club that gains promotion and requires PSL-approved venues needs to use Athlone or Cape Town Stadium. These are world-class stadia with world-class pitches."
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