Chiefs currently lie in fourth place on the DStv Premiership standings, as many as 16 points adrift of runaway leaders Sundowns, and the only addition to the Amakhosi squad was the return from loan of Keletso Sifama from Pretoria Callies.
During the recently-concluded January transfer window, Sundowns completed the signings of Erwin Saavedra, Bradley “Surprise” Ralani and Teboho Mokoena, while Chiefs only really emerged late on Monday to say that they had “extended the contracts of seven of the club’s most promising players”.
In that announcement, it was revealed that Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Sabelo Radebe, Happy Mashiane, Reeve Frosler, Keletso Sifama, Bruce Bvuma and Thabo Mokoena had all penned new deals.
Despite the fact numerous rumours swirled around the possible arrival of Siyethemba Sithebe from AmaZulu, that deal failed to materialise at this time.
The Chiefs coach was speaking at the Nedbank Cup launch
Baxter said he understands the frustration of some supports at the lack of transfer activity, but provided a detailed explanation as to why this has been the case.
“I think it’s easy to have these perceptions [no ambition], given what’s going on so I can’t say I don’t understand what the supporters are feeling,” Baxter told journalists at the Nedbank Cup launch on Tuesday evening.
“I can’t say I don’t understand but I can assure them there’s a lot more [that] goes on in terms of targeting in people, getting knocked back, realising that in the open market there’s one club that holds all the trump cards.
“So if we’re interested in a player they’re interested in, pretty much, the chances are that he’s going there. So we have to be smart then in recruitment and I think we’ve tried to do that and probably what’s been available to us – we worked out that at this moment in time it won’t build that gap between us and Sundowns.
“So in that respect, I don’t think it’s a lack of ambition but realism hitting home. Now I think we need to keep on working on that,” he continued.
“We need to do that for two reasons; one because that’s what an ambitious football club does and two, we have to keep sending signals to supporters that we’re not resting on our laurels or waiting for next year to come around, that we’re active in the market.”
Chiefs are next in league action against Cape Town City on 15 February.