Baxter: Furman gives us balance
Posted: 14 March 2018 Time: 18:30
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has explained his persistent selection of SuperSport United midfielder Dean Furman and defended against suggestions of favouritism.
Furman has been one of the most consistent inclusions in the national team since his decision to represent South Africa at international level back in 2013, having notched up 38 caps and missed only four camps.
Bafana coaches, including Baxter, Shakes Mashaba and Gordon Igesund, have all retained faith in the 29-year-old, with many questioning his contribution in the team and perhaps even suggesting bias towards the former UK-based midfielder.
However, Baxter, who also worked with Furman at SuperSport, has outlined his belief in what the anchorman brings to the setup, having included him in the squad for the upcoming four-nations tournament in Zambia this month.
“I think Dean Furman has a lot of the qualities that other people don’t have, it’s as simple as that,” defended Baxter, after being quizzed about his repeated inclusion.
“Furman has a lot of qualities that a normal PSL player in South Africa doesn’t have, and that’s why he gives us that balance. I think any national coach will select the team that he thinks is best, you cannot afford to have favourites.
“When I look at what Furman does for his club, and the mental characteristics that he has, he has what other people don’t have. Therefore he balances the squad in a way that probably some other players can’t.
“So, if I take Dean out and put in another central midfield player, I take away some of those mental skills that some of the other players don’t have. We complain all the time that we’re not mentally strong, but Dean’s the most mentally strong player on that board.
“And, yeah, we question it – you’ve got every right to do so, because that’s your opinion – but as the national coach, my opinion is that he gives a lot. If you ask the other players in the squad, they’ll agree with me.”
Meanwhile, the British tactician also provided update on the situation involving estranged former Bournemouth striker Tokelo Rantie.
“I haven’t spoken to Rantie. As far as I know, he’s said as long as he won’t be playing then he’s going to further his career first and see what happens later on,” said Baxter.
“So there’s no Tokelo now, and I don’t think he’s been fixed up yet. I think he’s still looking around for another club, after being released in Turkey.”