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Stuart Baxter has explained his selection criteria for Bafana Bafana's Cosafa and CHAN fixtures

Posted: 11 July 2017 Time: 16:16

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has explained that his selection criteria for his current CHAN qualifying squad is completely different due to the timing of the fixture.

South Africa face Botswana in the second round 2018 African Nations Championship qualifiers in back-to-back meetings on 15 and 22 July, in home and away legs.

The winner of the fixture will then go into the final round of qualifying and face the winner between Zambia and Swaziland next month, before booking their place at the finals in Kenya in January next year.

READ: Bafana squad for CHAN qualifier with Botswana

Baxter retained only one of his three goalkeepers from the recent Cosafa Cup squad in Boalefa Pule, with Platinum Stars reserve keeper Steven Hoffman and Mamelodi Sundowns development keeper Khulekani Kubheka getting a look-in.

"On the three keepers: Pule offers a bit of experience, Khule [Khubeka] is the young one and Steven Hoffman is somewhere in between," explained Baxter.

"The rationale behind that is that we think these are the three that we can get that tick the following boxes:

"One is to give us a bit of experience now. Two is to invest some international time into. Three is one that is in the PSL and we want to take a look at.

"That is sort of the rationale throughout this whole selection process. I'm sure that with all the names in this squad, you'll be able to say, 'yeah, he fits in that category.'"

The inclusions players who have not seen much game time in recent months have come under criticism. However, the British tactician further explained that with tournaments that fall outside the FIFA calendar, and when players are harder to acquire from their clubs, his selection criteria is vastly different in the sense that availibility and player relevance tend to take preference over form.

"I know you guys [media] ask me about the criteria for selecting players, but those criteria for Cosafa and CHAN go completely out of the window because it's sort of 'beggers can't be choosers', with no disrespect to the players," he added.

"But you've got to take the players who, first of all, you think have a serious chance of breaking into Bafana Bafana, then you say, 'okay, if we can't take them because they're too senior [at club level] then let's take younger ones with a chance of going through the system and give them that international time.'

"Then there'll be a few who, like Gift [Motupa], have been under the periphery and you think, 'if he had a few more games maybe he would be pushing, so let's take that sort of player.'

"I think that's what it is. Of course I've got to have some sort of standard or level, but you sort of bend the rules a bit on this one because it's one of those camps.

"A few of these lads have not trained properly for a couple of week and that shows at times, but they are getting there."

Article by: Chad Klate (@CKlatey)
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