KAIZER Chiefs were just not up for it in their 2-1 Nedbank Cup defeat against Black Leopards at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, Amakhosi coach Stuart Baxter said.
Baxter was sent off by referee Daniel Bennett for one of the more bizarre – verging on ridiculous – instances of remonstrating after Chiefs had a penalty appeal turned down when Mandla Masango was clattered into.
The coach had put his hands to his eyes in a spectacles motion. That and the fact Morgan Shivambu’s 21st-minute opener for Leopards was clearly offside played into the first division side’s favour.
But Baxter admitted Chiefs had also not done enough to win.
“[Leopards coach] Zeca [Marques] is probably correct – the attitude of his players was much better than the attitude of our players.
“The attitude of our players was ‘we’ll probably win so we’ll do as little as we can to do that’. When you’re playing a team who are hungry and organised then that is never going to be enough.
“And then you go a goal down – even though it looked a million miles offside. But they had other chances, so if it wasn’t that one it could have been a different one.
“We got ourselves back in the game quite miraculously because I thought our second-half performance was miserable. We didn’t show enough desire to put it to bed.
“It’s the classic situation where your players think they can [win] on 75%. They were on 110, we were on 75, and suddenly you realise that and can’t switch it back on.
“I’m embarrassed about the result, embarrassed probably by my own behaviour,” Baxter said.
Chiefs equalised through Siphelele Mthembu in the 79th minute, but Roggert Nyundu scored an injury-time winner for Leopards.
Baxter played a mixed A and B side. He said he did not regret fielding an under-strength team. Two key changes were enforced by fullbacks Siboniso Gaxa and Tsepo Masilela being suspended.
“The team we put out was virtually forced upon us,” Baxter said. “We have suspensions, injuries and sicknesses, and some of the other players I just did not want to risk them.
“They have gone through a really tough schedule and to go into what we knew was going to be a tough cup game, some of them might have broken down,” he said.