Baxter: Phiri's always in the mix


Competition in the middle of the park is a main reason one of South Africa’s overseas based players can't get into the Bafana Bafana squad.

Despite being a regular for his club Guingamp in the French Ligue 1, Phiri has not been able to break into Stuart Baxter’s Bafana Bafana squad. He featured once in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles as a substitute.

He made 30 appearances in all competitions for his club and is said to have attracted interest from other clubs in Europe.

Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has explained why it has been difficult for the player to break into the squad.

“Lebo is in the picture all the time. He is one of the best professionals we have. He is a fantastic ambassador for our football abroad, he never puts a foot wrong. When I speak to his club, they love him to bits,” Baxter told media earlier this week when he announced his 30-man provisional squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt next month.

“Of course he is always in the mix, but look we’ve got some good talent [in central midfield]. That’s the department where I think we’ve got most talented players. We’ve got Kamo [Mokotjo], we’ve Bongani [Zungu] and we’ve got home based players like Hlompho [Kekana] and Teboho Mokoena. You’ve got [Thulani] Serero who has got back and he has come back strong, so he is always staking a claim. Sometimes it’s just a case of you can’t get them all in.”