SUPERSPORT United coach, Stuart Baxter was officially announced as the new Bafana Bafana coach by the South African Football Association yesterday, WRITES NAKAMPE LEKWADU.
According to SAFA, Baxter who is making his second return to the senior men’s team was chosen as the best candidates by SAFA’s eight member-team Technical Search Group from among more than 70 other coaches who applied for the team’s hot position which was made vacant after the sour separation between the association and former coach, Shakes Mashaba.
The search team was led by SAFA president himself, Danny Jordaan, his vice Elvis Shishana, chair of the SAFA Technical Committee, Ms Anastasia Tsichlas, former Bafana Bafana greats Benni McCarthy and Lucas Radebe, top Development coach, Farouk Khan, SAFA Technical Director, Neil Tovey, Football Legend, Bhuda Mathate and Anna Nyman.
The group reduced the list of candidates to five and then finally three, which included Hevre Renard, Hugo Broos and Stuart Baxter
The final decision was the approval of the appointment of Baxter as the new Bafana head coach.
SAFA CEO, Dennis Mumble, was then tasked to finalise both the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the long-term contract for the coach. The contract was finalised, opening the way for Baxter to become head coach of the South African Senior Men’s National Team with the immediate challenge being continuing with the preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
“As the South African Football Association (SAFA) we are pleased to welcome Stuart Baxter back at Bafana Bafana. We are confident we have made the right choice and with him at helm, we will qualify for both the World Cup in 2018 and the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019.
“With our search, we made sure we go for the right man for the job and we would like to thank the media for keeping us on our toes with this appointment – because at the end of it all this is our team, all of us. Good luck to the new coach,” said Jordaan.
Baxter is happy to be back and has called for unity.
“I am back in this seat because I have belief – I believe that with the wealth of talent in this country we can qualify for things. While I know that this position goes with a lot of criticism, I also believe that if we work together as a country and take out all the negativity we can get somewhere. So my appeal is, with your support this national team can be great again – criticise if you must, but support is crucial,” said Baxter.
“This is not an easy task I am going into, but I have confidence that we will overcome.”
The starting point for the coach is to receive all materials in preparation for the upcoming match against Nigeria on June 10 in Uyo, Nigeria.
These include the list of players who played in recent national team matches, video analysis and site inspection in Nigeria which will be undertaken by Bafana Bafana Team Manager Barney Kujane, who was expected to departs today (Tuesday, May 16). He will prepare a full report for the coach when he returns.
Upon receipt of the information, Baxter will then finalise his squad for Nigeria with his Technical Team.