Stuart Baxter favoured to steer SA football

2014-07-06 15:00

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The SA Football Association (Safa) has earmarked Stuart Baxter for the technical director position.

City Press has learnt that negotiations with the former Bafana Bafana coach were at an advanced stage.

According to a highly placed source at Safa, the Kaizer Chiefs mentor tops the list for the vacant position. Fran Hilton-Smith took the reins temporarily after Serame Letsoaka was made Bafana assistant coach in 2012.

“Safa approached Stuart as they see him as the man to take football forward based on the development blueprint he brought when he was still with Bafana. He is the most knowledgeable and capable person to fill the gap, and hopefully he will come on board soon,” said the source.

The source added that Safa believed Baxter was the right candidate considering that Fifa recommended that all its member federations hired highly qualified technical directors to qualify for funding from the world football governing body.

“Remember when he first came here, he preached development and had a vision to take South African football forward, but he was never given a chance to implement his ideas.”

The source said the ball was in the Englishman’s court. He still has two years remaining on his Chiefs contract.

“We don’t want someone who has the ambition to coach Bafana as this is a top position. We want someone who will drive our vision and complement the senior national team coach.”

On the latest developments regarding the vacant Bafana coaching job, Carlos Queiroz is in pole position to get the nod, according to the source.

The Portuguese national has already quit his job as the Iran mentor after their first-round World Cup exit. Speculation has been rife that Stephen Keshi, who guided Nigeria to the last 16 at the World Cup, was also a frontrunner to lead Bafana. The Nigerian has also said he would leave his position. Our source said Safa continues to get enquiries about the Bafana job.

“Even today, there have been some enquiries from two international coaches from eastern Europe and Scotland, but we have made it clear that we will headhunt.”

Meanwhile, Letsoaka will guide an Under-19 team in an international tournament in Durban next month because Shakes Mashaba will be away in Tanzania with the Under-17 side for the African Youth Championship qualifiers. Letsoaka’s team will compete against Santos (Brazil), Boca Juniors (Argentina), Everton (England), Benfica (Portugal), Feyenoord (Netherlands) and Roma (Italy).

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