Baxter sounds out COSAFA youngster


Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has revealed his impression of a young midfielder currently participating in the COSAFA Cup.

Bafana are currently in two separate camps – one ‘junior’ side with David Notoane in Durban; the other preparing for the AFCON in Johannesburg with Baxter.

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Notoane’s charges were in action on Sunday, when they suffered an early exit from the COSAFA Cup quarterfinals to Botswana, much to the disappointment of the nation’s supporters.

Their failure came as a shock as they led the match 2-0 at half-time, before conceding late-on to force the tie into the sudden-death shootout and eventually being sent to the Plate section.

But Baxter wasn’t all too upset in his assessment of the young team consisting largely of under-23 players.

“I think it’s a little bit understandable, you know, they played quite well at times and we just couldn’t cope with a more intimidating, powerful team on set-plays,” said Baxter.

“I think it’s understandable. David thought the lads tired towards the end, but I thought that’s more because we threw together a few players and tested a few.

“And the structure disintegrated a little bit in the second-half, and that’s probably why we worked a little harder than we should have.

“But, when I was down there, some of the players looked interesting, and at times it looked quite good. But I think David’s got an opportunity to put down a tighter structure and they can also do some work on things like set-plays.”

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Asked whether there were any stand-out performers, the British tactician spoke glowingly of former under-17 and under-20 international Grant Margeman.

“There’s a few of them who’ve looked like they’ve improved from the last time that they were with COSAFA and I was there,” he added.

“I’ll be keen to watch a few of them now, especially the ones that have got a little more experience.

“I thought Grant [Margeman] did quite well – he sort of looked comfortable with that level, so a few of the others like Luther [Singh] and Teboho [Mokoena] we know about already.

“But I thought Grant was one of the younger ones that did quite nicely.”