Baxter to facilitate Chiefs, Bucs, Downs

Posted: 14 November 2018 Time: 05:59 pm

Bafana Bafana coach Staurt Baxter is cognizant of his responsibility to accomodate Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns in the current camp.

Bafana face a double header in the current FIFA window with clashes against Nigeria and Paraguay in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers and Nelson Mandela Challenge respectively.

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The relationship between SAFA and some prominent PSL clubs have been known to be rocky in times past, with the releasing of players for non-mandatory tournaments such as the COSAFA and CHAN often proving a challenge.

Another issue has also been the state in which players return from the national team to their respective clubs, with Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi having recently issued a complaint over the nature of Sibusiso Vilakazi's Achilles injury suffered on international duty last month.

This camp comes at a rather precarious time as Amakhosi and The Bucanneers are set to face off in an all-important Telkom Knockout semi-final next weekend before being joined by The Brazilians and Free State Stars in CAF competition a few days later.

A particular point to note is that Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns were all embroiled in three fixtures in just seven days last week, and the likes of Itumeleng Khune, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Thembinkosi Lorch, Innoccent Maela and Vincent Pule will have to be duly managed.

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However, Baxter has assured he will take the necessary steps to ensure players from these clubs are returned in good enough condition to further meet their demands.

"I think it's important that we've spoken about having a positive relationship with the clubs. I've travelled around, even visiting clubs in the lower division," said the Brit.

"It's really important that we have an understanding whereby they will help us if they can, and we will help them if we can.

"I think that balance, without being detrimental to the success of national team, [is important]. We have to have that little bit of feeling that if I was a coach at one of the clubs, I wouldn't want my players to play consecutive 90 minutes.

"I would expect the [national team] coach to have a little bit of feeling for South African football in general and say, maybe these couple can play a half in one and a half in the other, for example.

So, we'll approach it with that in mind, and it's not a point that's lost on anybody - it's something we will think about."

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Bafana meet The Super Eagles at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday (15h00) before hosting La Albirroja at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Tuesday (19h00).

The players will then be dismissed from camp on Wednesday morning before returning to their respective clubs ahead of the weekend's domestic fixtures.

Article by: Chad Klate (@CKlatey)

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