Bafana Bafana

OFFICIAL: Baxter named Bafana coach

Stuart Baxter (Gallo Images)
Stuart Baxter (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - After a lengthy recruitment process, the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) has officially announced Stuart Baxter as the new Bafana Bafana head coach.

The SuperSport United head coach will leave the club at the end of the season to bring stability to the national side.

Baxter, 63, will be officially unveiled as the head coach by SAFA President Danny Jordaan upon his return to South Africa from CAF and FIFA commitments.

"We are pleased to have finally reached agreement with SuperSport United on the release of coach Baxter," said SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble.

"SAFA believes that the coach has the necessary skills to navigate the tough qualification path for the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup.

"We thank SuperSport United for their support towards the goals of the Association and its national teams."

Baxter will meanwhile, continue to fulfil his coaching responsibilities at the club for the remaining four Absa Premiership fixtures as well as the Nedbank Cup and Confederations Cup.

SAFA and SuperSport United have agreed to work together to ensure that Baxter gets time off post the final league match on Saturday, May 27 to prepare Bafana Bafana for the upcoming AFCON match against Nigeria.

Baxter previously mentored South Africa for a year between 2004 and 2005 and shortly resigned after Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the 2006 Soccer World Cup.

SAFA have for months searched across the globe to find a suitable candidate and went public after releasing a statement that they have assembled a selection committee to advise SAFA on the best coach for Bafana Bafana.

The selection committee included the likes of former Bafana Bafana stars Benni McCarthy, Lucas Radebe and Neil Tovey along with ex-coach Clive Barker.  

The names mentioned in the statement was Roberto Mancini, Giovanni Trapattoni, Hassan Shehata, Hugo Broos, Samson Siasia, Lothar Matthaus and Bernd Schuster.

Despite not being mentioned in the SAFA statement, Sport24 reported in March that Herve Renard and Carlos Queiroz were the final two in the race for the job with an announcement "imminent".

However, in a single Twitter post shortly thereafter via the official Bafana Bafana account, the association confirmed that the announcement had been postponed due to the unavailability of the chosen candidate.

South Africa have been without a coach since the footballing body axed Shakes Mashaba in December last year.

The 66-year-old Mashaba was found guilty of insulting top football officials after South Africa's 2018 Soccer World Cup qualifier victory over Senegal.

Meanwhile, Owen da Gama has been in charge of the senior side on an interim basis and has already guided Bafana Bafana to a 3-1 victory over Guinea Bissau and a goalless draw against Angola during the recent FIFA international break.

Bafana Bafana will next play in June against Nigeria in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier.

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