Cape Town - Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says he built good relationships during a recent scouting mission to watch national team players in France's top flight.
Baxter visited with RC Strasbourg's Lebo Mothiba, Montpellier's Keagan Dolly, Amiens' Bongani Zungu and Guingamp's Lebogang Phiri.
The Bafana mentor said he used the trip to find out how Dolly, Zungu and Phiri were progressing with their injuries.
Speaking to TimesLIVE, he said: "I was visiting some of the clubs that have got our injured players.
"And I went to Strasbourg to see Mothiba, talk to his coach and see how they use him.
"I was in France and visited Dolly, Mothiba and Zungu.
"Phiri [at EA Guingamp] was injured and not playing so I didn't get to see him this time around.
"I wanted to see Lebo Mothiba's club because I think he's going to be an important player for a long time for South Africa.
"I went to Montpellier and met their physiotherapist and got an update on Keagan's injury. I met Bongani Zungu's sporting director at Amiens.
"Then I got on the train and travelled two-and-a-half hours to Strasbourg, just to watch Lebo Mothiba train and sit with his coach [Thierry Laurey], and sit with his president [Marc Keller] and ask, 'Are you happy with everything, what can we do for you?'
"It was good. And I think that relationship we have there is going to be vital going forward.
"I don't think Strasbourg will be his final destination, I think he'll move on. But at the moment he's delighted with Strasbourg and Strasbourg are delighted with him."
He concluded he would visit players like Luther Singh and Thabo Cele in Portugal during the Christmas break: "When I go back [to his home in Sweden] and celebrate Christmas, on the way back to SA I'm going to go and visit a few of the younger players like Luther Singh and Thabo Cele in Portugal.
"I've got to get around and figure out how we can turn these young guys into players we can use for Qatar [the 2022 World Cup].
"I've got to see how they're progressing, if are they having any problems at the club that we need to know about?
"How do the clubs see their development, do they see them as a No 9 or a No 10?
"I think we need to cooperate on that and the clubs need to be viewed more as a partner and as a friend.
"I've tried to do it with the South African clubs, and now I need to get around to the European clubs, because very often they can be the stumbling blocks."