Baxter urges players to step up

Baxter promised players a place in the squad that will take on Libya in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in September if they impress in the COSAFA tournament, which kicked off in Polokwane today.

Bafana will start their campaign in the quarterfinals on Saturday against the winner of Group A, which consists of Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique and Seychelles. 

“It was the same in Zambia [during the Four Nations tournament]. Some of the players that we took there did exactly that; they put their hands up and said 'hey, don’t throw me back in the pool',” Baxter said.

“I could be around for a while. This is going to be exactly the same. It would have been fantastic if we had a get together or a friendly with the squad that’s going to play in the AFCON qualifiers because I won’t have had them together since the Senegal match. But in lieu of not having that, this is the best thing we could be doing. And then hopefully some of these players here will enhance the AFCON squad.”

Baxter selected a relatively young squad for the tournament, with little international experience.

“I think that it’s an interesting squad, if we get some work done we will do well. We’ll probably play Zambia or Zimbabwe. These teams have strong squads. If we can match them with the squad that we have, that augurs well for South Africa.”