No personal agendas for Baxter


Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has assured the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations is not so much about him as it is about the team doing well.

Bafana are set to return to the continental showpiece after missing out in 2017, and for many in the current squad this will be a first experience, including Baxter.

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The British tactician, who was previously in charge of the South African senior national team in 2004-05, had led the team through most of the 2006 AFCON qualifiers but was sacked shortly before the final showpiece and replaced by the late Ted Dumitru.

This time, however, he has managed to hold onto his job after again guiding Bafana to the finals in Egypt, which kicks off on June 21.

“I think once I’ve done it [participated at the AFCON] then I’ll sort of give my report card, but I think going to it, I’m definitely looking forward to it,” said Baxter.

“For me, I’m proud to take the national team to the AFCON. I qualified them once before but didn’t go, so I’m happy to be going this time.”

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Asked whether he sees it as an opportunity to avenge missing out on it 13 years ago, the British tactician insisted that he has no personal agendas but will focus on ensuring his charges are fully prepared to do the nation proud.

“I don’t know, the man that’s looking for revenge usually has to dig two graves – I don’t want to do that, certainly not,” he assured.

“My focus has to be on preparing the team properly. I don’t think personal agendas should come into it, I mean, I can feel proud, but I don’t want it to become a bloated, excessive pride that looks like arrogance.

“So, yeah, I’m proud but I don’t want it to be showing any difference in the way I am in a normal game.”