Bafana Bafana

Baxter eager to help Bafana qualify for SWC

IN A FIX:   Stuart Baxter’s pending move might have affected his players. (Samuel Shivambu, Backpagepix)
IN A FIX: Stuart Baxter’s pending move might have affected his players. (Samuel Shivambu, Backpagepix)

Johannesburg - Stuart Baxter's reason for accepting the Bafana Bafana job was to have another go at competing at a FIFA World Cup, says SuperSport United CEO Stanley Matthews.

The 63-year-old Baxter was on Thursday confirmed as South Africa's new head coach after a lengthy search process to find a successor for Shakes Mashaba, who was sacked in December 2016.

Baxter will be officially unveiled by South African Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan upon his return to South Africa from CAF and FIFA commitments.

Meanwhile, the United coach will continue to fulfill his responsibilities at the club for the remaining four Absa Premiership fixtures, as well as the Nedbank Cup and Confederations Cup.

SAFA and Matsatsansta have agreed to work together to ensure that Baxter gets time off following SuperSport's final league match on May 27 to prepare Bafana Bafana for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) match against Nigeria.

Bafana Bafana will take on the Super Eagles on the weekend of June 9-11 in Nigeria.

Matthews wished Baxter the best of luck for his second term as Bafana Bafana mentor, but stressed that the focus right now is still on SuperSport United retaining the Nedbank Cup and finishing in the top four of the League.

"We obviously did not want to lose Stuart as our coach. He has done a great job in getting us to the competitive level we expect as a club, however, we also understand that Stuart would like to have a final go at competing at a FIFA World Cup and that would be a fantastic achievement for the country as a whole," said Matthews.

"But right now our focus, and that of Stuart's, has to be on a strong finish to the League, becoming the first club to retain the Nedbank Cup and to fight our way through the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup.

"So we are glad this matter is now settled and we can all focus on the job at hand which is meeting our football targets for this season and planning ahead for next season."

Baxter joined SuperSport United in January 2016 and led Matsatsantsa to a top 8 finish and won them the Nedbank Cup trophy with a thrilling victory over Orlando Pirates in May 2016.

This season, United reached the Telkom Cup final but were defeated by newly formed PSL side Cape Town City.

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