Baxter to phase out Bafana old guard
Posted: 12 November 2017 Time: 14:00
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter will slowly start phasing out the older players in the side, as he looks to build for the future.
This means the likes of Morgan Gould, Clayton Daniels and Siphiwe Tshabalala are not likely to feature regularly going forward, while youngsters such as Teboho Mokoena and Phakamani Mahlambi could get opportunities to first prove themselves in friendly internationals.
This follows Bafana’s failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup set to be played in Russia.
When he was appointed as coach earlier this year, Baxter did say he would not close the door on veteran players such as Gould and Tshabalala. True to his word, Baxter picked them in the qualifiers but they were not able to use their experience to help Bafana book a spot in Russia.
"I picked 'Shabba' for the squad, but is Shabba in my plans going forward? Probably not. And there’s probably going to be a few of the older players that you think will probably be phased out in the next few games," the former Kaizer Chiefs coach said.
Baxter, though, is not likely to make wholesale changes to the team that has failed the nation.
"But wholesale changes, throwing the baby out of the bath water, would be foolish because the players you bring in have to be brought in at the right time. They have to be given the right sort of experience and that’s my argument when we talk about ‘is the national team the place to experiment, is it a place for development?’ Well I think you’ve got to."
He continued: "If you look at some of the Englands teams, the German teams and the Brazilians teams, they include four or five that they take a chance with. They take a chance losing friendly internationals, so that when they come to [competitive] games like this, they can throw in a Teboho Mokoena because he has had five or six games under his belt. So there has to be phasing out of certain players and bringing in some of the talent we have and to make sure we keep developing."
Bafana will play Senegal in their final Group D qualifier in Dakar on Tuesday.
Their chances of qualifying for the World Cup have been dashed, but Baxter wants the team to finish the campaign on a high.