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Sort out Baxter’s Bafana issue now, before Cosafa conundrum

Sport
It would be to the advantage of all parties concerned if a solution could be found to the unenviable position that SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter finds himself in before he can take up his new job at Safa House at the end of the season.

It was revealed at the annual regional Cosafa Castle Cup tournament this week that Baxter would announce the Bafana squad that will face Nigeria in a 2018 Afcon qualifier in Uyo next week but he cannot yet take full charge of the team as he is still attached to SuperSport United.

Baxter, pictured, has already thrown the gauntlet at the noisy rivals from west Africa, publicly claiming that South Africa will definitely compete against Nigeria in the qualifier and was looking forward to putting one over the Super Eagles on June 10.

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Stuart Baxter

The Cosafa competition, which gets underway in Rustenburg on June 25, paired South Africa against the winners of a group comprising Malawi, Tanzania, Mauritius and Angola, but there is no doubt that Baxter and Bafana Bafana are headed for quite a taxing period.

“We are certainly headed for a busy period,” admitted Safa president Danny Jordaan. “At the completion of the Cosafa tournament in July, the team is likely to stay in camp to prepare for the African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifying tie against Botswana.

“But before we can concentrate on the Chan tournament, there is this matter of the Cosafa and being the 20th anniversary of the tournament, and bearing in mind that South Africa has equalled the number of times both Zambia and Zimbabwe have won the tournament, it is time to stamp our authority in the region.”

Last year the DR Congo were invites guests at the tournament but this year, the invitation was extended to Tanzania who were drawn against Malawi in the opening match at the Moruleng Stadium.

Meanwhile, Congo Hindjou, the former Namibian international now one of the ambassadors of the competition, expressed concern about the preparations of his country who were winners of the tournament in 2015 and were drawn against Lesotho in the quarterfinals.

“There have not been any official league matches in Namibia for almost a year now,” said Hindjou.

But the focus will be on new boss Baxter and hosts South Africa, who are the defending champions after winning the tournament with an U-23 squad that was preparing for the Olympic Games in Brazil last time out.

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