New Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has final say on composition of his squads
Posted: 18 May 2017 Time: 08:22
SAFA president Danny Jordaan says returning Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter will make the call on the composition of his squads as they prepare to challenge on four fronts.
Bafana are back in action next month starting with the 2019 AFCON qualifier away to Nigeria over the weekend of June 9-11 then enter the COSAFA Castle Cup in the quarter-finals starting on July 2 after which they meet Botswana in the second round of qualifiers for the CHAN finals between July 14-21.
Should Bafana proceed further in the CHAN qualifiers then they will play either Swaziland/Zambia in the last round of qualifiers on August 11-18 with a 2018 World Cup qualifier also slated for the same month.
This essentially means Baxter has four different competitions in his first three months back at the helm of the senior national team.
“The coach will obviously want to establish as soon as possible the broadest group of a squad of players for him. I can see that he will look at broadening the base for selection and this is an opportunity for him but it is up to him and he will announce the teams both for the match against Nigeria in the AFCON qualifiers as well as the COSAFA Castle Cup,” says Jordaan.
Last year the Rio Olympics bound Under-23 squad was used for the COSAFA Castle Cup but this year there is no global showcase on the cards.
It is the CHAN qualifiers that will instead be played straight after the regional competition which is being held in the North West.
The CHAN is exclusively for those doing duty in their home leagues.
“We just announced the new coach and so what this means is that we will have to sit down with the coach. Off course as far as the Under-23s were concerned that was good preparation for the Rio Olympics and after that we went to Olympics and you could see the impact of playing against senior players in the COSAFA Cup. The coach has to make the call,” adds Jordaan.
The reality is that the challenge that Baxter will be faced with is that most local clubs will want their players to take a break at the end of the league on May 27 making their availability for the non-FIFA calendar competitions like the COSAFA Cup and CHAN qualifiers no guarantee.
Players from Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Platinum Stars will be involved in continental club competitions until early July.