Why Bafana had no AFCON send-off

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter admitted his disappointment at not being able to interact with the supporters before departing for AFCON.

Bafana left Johannesburg on Tuesday, after their initial plans to fly out on Monday were left in disarray and have since resumed their preparations in Dubai before heading to Cairo.

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Though Baxter expressed his wish to play a friendly prior to their departure, plans failed to materialise as SAFA could not find an opponent, leaving the team to play a match amongst themselves in Pretoria last Saturday.

Seeing the team depart under the radar this week left many patriotic supporters disheartened, with some questioning the British tactician’s approach, but he has since defended that this was not the intention.

“It would have been nice [to play a send-off friendly]. I can’t say I’m not a little bit disappointed with that, because I am. That would have been nice for our supporters to have had that interaction,” said Baxter.

“Also, to put ourselves on the line a little bit so we know what we’re working on going forward, but the world is not perfect, so I’ve got to get on with it.

“Now we’ve done what we’ve done as best we can. Barney [Kujane, the team manager] was wrestling for somewhere for us to play, because there’s been all sorts of festivals and reseeding of pitches, and we eventually got out to Tuks at their High-Performance Centre.

“So, yeah, I get the point but all I can say is that we’ve got to move on. We’ve got important things ahead of us.”

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