Stuart Baxter rallying support for Bafana Bafana's developmental plan
Posted: 19 April 2018 Time: 19:30
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is hoping their definitive developmental plan can garner the support of clubs in releasing players for the upcoming COSAFA Cup.
South Africa have been confirmed as stand-in hosts for Botswana for this year’s COSAFA Cup, after also staging last year’s edition in Rustenburg, with Limpopo set to accommodate the 14 national teams from the Southern African region.
With this comes added pressure for Bafana to do well on home soil, but given that tournaments such as these have not been given much respect by clubs, in terms of releasing players, Baxter is optimistic that their developmental approach will help ease the selection process.
“It is a challenge, but I think it’s been more challenging in previous years because we haven’t really had a clear position on what we’re looking to get out of the tournament,” said Baxter.
“Many times we’ve stumbled into it with an under-strength team, investing time into players that probably won’t represent Bafana again in the future.
“But now the strategy should be clear – that we will pick as strong a team as we can and at the same time invest international playing time into younger players that we feel will go on and maybe play in the Olympics or in Bafana.
“So, I think, having a clearer picture of what we want now makes it rather less challenging. The one challenge then is, being that it’s outside the FIFA calendar, can you get those players that you want?”
Having traveled around the country on various club visits in the last few months, the senior national team boss believes relations have been strengthened.
“I’ve been around the country and, in the spirit of partnership, spoken to coaches and clubs about this sort of thing,” he noted.
“There has to be a partnership – we have to develop the players together. So the clubs will show, I’m sure, as much patience and understanding as possible.
“And, for us, we’ll have to understand that some players we maybe can’t get because of their schedule or the fitness levels, or even because they’ve been too active for too long.
“So, it is a challenge. We will get the strongest team that we can and one that still has to have a very definite place in our development programme.”