Argentina, Bafana friendly called off

SAFA were in advanced discussions with the world’s fifth-ranked nation in an effort to arrange a last-minute practice match ahead of their World Cup campaign, in which they share a group with Nigeria – who lost to Bafana in their opening AFCON qualifier last year.

Despite having failed to secure a place at the global showpiece, which is set to kick off in Russia in just a few weeks, Baxter had been hoping to use the match as a progressive tool following Bafana’s recent success at the four-nations tournament in Zambia last month.

There had also been plans to take part in a tournament in India, where the British tactician was hoping to further prepare his squad for the resumption of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, in which current Group E leaders Libya next visit our shores in September.

However, The Albiceleste have since opted to pull out of the discussions following their humiliating 6-1 defeat in a friendly against Spain, while the trip to India is also in doubt.

“We had the ambition of having three squads on the road – the COSAFA, which was going to be very much players that can go forward and maybe play in the Olympics,” explained Baxter.

“We were hoping to also have the base of the squad from the four-nations going to India, and then we had one friendly game against Argentina that was very close to fruition.

“That game has since been pulled because Argentina had a very disappointing result against Spain, and have chosen not to play one more game [before the World Cup].

“I think the India tournament is in the balance, so that’s why I’m saying, if the India tournament is on then I will obviously take part in that. But it’s in the balance so I’ll concentrate at the moment on COSAFA because that’s the only concrete one.

“We will continue to try and get a one-off game for the more senior players, but that’s a difficult challenge at this moment.”