Bafana coach Stuart Baxter explains Clayton Daniels call-up ahead of World Cup qualifiers
Posted: 28 August 2017 Time: 15:47
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has pointed out the reasons that led him to call up Clayton Daniels ahead of younger, on-form candidates for the upcoming fixtures against Cape Verde.
The SuperSport United centre-back was announced to be a replacement for the injured Rivaldo Coetzee, who has been withdrawn with injury after his failed move to Scottish side Glasgow Celtic.
Eyebrows were raised at the inclusion of a 33-year-old rather than someone who could be invested in for the future of the national team, which is meant to be building towards ‘Vision 2022'.
However, the British tactician explained that the aims and objectives of these back-to-back World Cup qualifiers, as highlighted to SAFA, is to ensure progression in the qualifying campaign, which is a different scenario to the back-to-back games against Nigeria and Zambia in June.
“Before every [national team] event, I submit to the FA [SAFA] what my aims and objectives are. My aims and objectives in this game is: win two games,” explained Baxter.
"I’m not saying I don’t care how we win because I do [care] – I want to win them in 'our’ way, but the most important thing is to win these games because they are World Cup qualifiers.
“When we went to Nigeria [Afcon qualifier] we had: win the game, but we had Zambia [shortly afterwards], which was a friendly, so there were a lot of objectives about development and deepening the squad.”
Baxter further highlighted that Daniels’ history – both from a personal as well as a national team perspective – places him in a position to be entrusted to “hit the ground running” if called upon.
“I only see what the Clayton thing is about now, it isn’t about ‘well, let’s bring in [Motjeka] Madisha because he’s the future.'
“Is this the right one [camp] to bring him in? I doubt it because he’s got to go straight in, hit the ground running and give a performance.
“It does matter that I’ve worked with Clayton before. If there was a friendly tact on the end of this one, there would have been two or three names that would have come into my thinking [ahead of Daniels].
“But every player that’s in this squad has got to really be equipped to be able to give a performance, because winning and getting good results – two that will get us closer to Russia – is the most important thing."