Absa Premiership

Baxter: A challenge 'changing hats'

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

Cape Town - SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter will be turning his attention to his Bafana Bafana job this week, but admits it's tricky juggling two positions.

Baxter guided his club side to a penalty shot-out win over Chippa United on Saturday to reach the Nedbank Cup final, scheduled for June 24, when they will play Orlando Pirates the team they beat in last season's final.

Matsatsantsa are also set to resume their CAF Confederation Cup campaign this week with a trip away to Gabon on Tuesday, while their final league match of the season is against Platinum Stars on Saturday.

But having been confirmed as the new Bafana Bafana coach earlier this month, Baxter also has the national team's opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game away to Nigeria on June 10 to think about. 

"The club and I have agreed that Kaitano (Tembo, assistant coach) will go with the team while I stay here to start preparing for the Nigeria game," Baxter explained after Saturday's win against Chippa.

"I have done some work on the [Nigeria] squad, their players and I am reading Nigerian newspapers every day to try and find out what they are thinking.

"I will be honest and say I haven't had time because of the commitments here at SuperSport and I have had to tell myself that I will take my SuperSport hat off in the next two days and put on my Bafana hat.

"It is obviously not perfect for our preparation, but I will get the DVD and all of that, break that down, get their last three games and break those down," he added.

Development will not be brushed aside, but for now the Englishman says he'll be banking on experienced players and 'warriors', ready to go and put their bodies on the line in Nigeria. 

"We want to keep an element of development there all the time, and I don't want to regress. We are going to have to look at players that have come in and ask if we should throw them in the deep end in Nigeria or should he be on the bench, or just in the squad and have a learning curve.

"I think those that are going to have to play are the ones that have been there and done it. We need players with experience, like Dean Furman for example. Itumeleng Khune will also be important in these sort of games," he was quoted saying by IOL website.

Baxter is expected to name his Bafana squad on Thursday.