Aaron Mokoena: Let's get behind Stuart Baxter at Bafana
Posted: 1 July 2017 Time: 18:00
Former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron ‘Mbazo’ Mokoena says South Africans should give Stuart Baxter all the support needed in his five years in charge of the national team.
Baxter, who is preparing an experimental Bafana squad for Sunday's COSAFA Castle Cup quarter-final with Tanzania at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace (17h00), started his second stint in the job with a 2-0 win over Nigeria in Uyo in the first round of African Nations Cup qualifiers on June 10.
Bafana lost 2-1 to Zambia in a friendly at Moruleng Stadium three days later, before Baxter ended his 15-month reign at SuperSport United by retaining the Nedbank Cup with a 4-1 drubbing of Orlando Pirates in the final last weekend.
Mokoena believes SAFA made a brave decision to bring Baxter back into the Bafana setup.
“I always said a lot about Stuart Baxter. I’ve been so fortunate to work with him… and for SAFA to make that tough decision to reappoint him again as a coach, I mean it takes one to be brave,” Mokoena tells KickOff.com.
“[SAFA president] Danny Jordaan decided he is the right person. We can say a lot about that as South Africans. But the fact is that he had three to four days to prepare for Nigeria. There was no excuse, he went out there and came out with a victory.
“He has a five-year contract with SAFA… and a clear mandate of development and of course qualifying the senior teams to tournaments.
“And Baxter is asking for unity, support and South Africans to rally behind Bafana Bafana and the players. He is also asking to work together with his colleagues [PSL coaches] in South Africa.
“Yes, we can mention two-to-three coaches who we think could have had this job, but let’s accept it; let’s accept that Stuart is our coach. Let’s give him that support for South African football,” concludes Mokoena, who earned a record 107 caps for South Africa.
Baxter was in May appointed as the new Bafana coach, taking over the reins from caretaker boss Owen da Gama following the dismissal of Shakes Mashaba in December last year.
The Brit previously coached Bafana from May 2004 to November 2005.