Baxter explains Madisha call-up
Posted: 3 October 2017 Time: 11:00
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has credited discussions with Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane over the selection of Motjeka Madisha, and says the call-up was all about timing.
Bafana are currently in camp to prepare for their crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D qualifier against Burkina Faso, which is set to take place at the FNB Stadium on Saturday (kick-off at 15h00).
Following the ruling of Erick Mathoho’s two-match suspension and fine, over his lashing out at a Cape Verde attacker in their 2-1 defeat away last month, Baxter gave Madisha the nod as a replacement.
With many having called for the 22-year-old centre-back’s inclusion in the previous camp, the former Kaizer Chiefs mentor explains that the issue was the player’s readiness and whether his national team interests would work in line with that of the club and Mosimane.
“It’s not hundred percent that Madisha is there or he’s not there [ready], we’ve got a camp now and people will show me on camp [their readiness], and then we'll select the final team,” said Baxter.
“Of course, I’ve got an idea [who will make the team] but it’s not set in stone in any way. I made a visit to Sundowns this week, when I watched the training and had a meeting with Pitso and the staff there.
“It was interesting to see the work that they’re doing, and we discussed a little about how South Africans, in general, play, and the problems that we [as a country] face.
“I asked him [Mosimane] specifically about Madisha, and I said I was definitely trying to be a little bit sensible with him because he’d gone into the Sundowns team and he’d been successful.
“But is that his [best] level? Should we just leave him at that, or should we push him quickly into the national team? I think he’s certainly national team material, but you’ve got to be hand-in-hand with the club.
“We both agreed that he’s ready, and it’s a little bit about, let’s see how quick or how slow we put him on, do we let him go in from the start. I had a great meeting there."
Meanwhile, the withdrawal of Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo has prompted a call-up for Cape Town City skipper Robyn Johannes, which Baxter explained as a reward.
“When we got ‘Tyson’ pulled out at the same time as we found out we won’t have the second game, then I think it’s about rewarding a player that’s been outstanding for his team,” explained the Brit.
“I think Robyn’s been a really, really important part of Cape Town City, both last year and this year, so I think that’s also a part of it – people have to believe that if they play well in the PSL, they’ll play in the national team. That… for me, he’s one of those.”