Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has provided an idea of what their preparations for the upcoming 2019 AFCON will look like.
Bafana are set to return to the continental showpiece for the first time since 2015 when they travel to Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off in June.
The national team have been drawn in Group D, alongside Ivory Coast, Morocco and Namibia, with their account set to be opened on June 24 in Cairo.
With the 2018/19 season set to come to a close at the end of May for most of the European-based contingent, Baxter has since mapped the way forward on when, how and where they will look to gear up towards the tournament.
“Obviously we were waiting for the draw and now we’re going to negotiate with the clubs to find out exactly when we can get the players released,” said Baxter.
“I think we have to have that negotiation because it’s been a long season and we don’t want to abuse the players, and we certainly don’t want to burn them out so that neither club nor country benefits.
“The question then comes, can we use COSAFA as some sort of a preparation? We know we can’t get our foreign based players, but does it fit, when we’re maybe meeting Namibia or someone else.
“Then we’re planning to have a pre-camp somewhere in the middle east – we’ve been approached by a couple of the middle eastern countries to do that. Nothing is definite, but that was a thought.
“And then we’d drop into Egypt and have our final camp there, with a game against an opponent similar to the one we’re facing in the first game [Ivory Coast].
“So, that would be the rough planning we’ve got for AFCON.”