Bafana are due to take on Libya in their final AFCON qualifier on the weekend of March 23 to 24 and head coach Stuart Baxter would like to have more time with his players to prepare for the clash that will be played away from home. Bafana need, at least, a draw to qualify for the showpiece to be played in Egypt later this year.
Bafana are currently in second place in Group E on nine points, while Libya are on seven points.
Acting SAFA CEO Russell Paul says they are grateful to the PSL for understanding their request. It seems talks are heading in the right direction.
“We are very grateful to the NSL, the board of governors and the clubs for their holistic understanding when we made our request,” he told SAFA's website.
“This move is an indication of their unwavering support to SAFA and Bafana Bafana at such a very crucial time, when the men’s senior national team prepares for the most important match thus far this year. This support from the NSL and its clubs will assist the head coach and his team to have additional time to prepare the team for this all-important clash, and we can only wish the squad all the best and convey to them that they have the support of the entire country.”
Baxter has also been part of the discussions with the PSL and he is happy that the two bodies are working together for the good of the nation.
“When I started with my job as the national team coach, I always preached cooperation among all the stakeholders, and this is proof that when we come together we can do what’s best for the nation. With all the preparations already in place, we know just how difficult it was for the PSL and the clubs to accede to our request, and we are eternally grateful for this gesture as it means a lot,” said Baxter.
“With that behind us, now we can focus on the challenge at hand, which is to go and qualify Bafana Bafana to the 2019 AFCON in Egypt. We are confident that with the nation behind us, this team can only prosper,” added Baxter.