As expected, Stuart Baxter resigned as the Bafana Bafana head coach on Friday in a press conference he personally organised in Johannesburg, but the question is, ‘where to for both the former coach and Bafana Bafana?’
This follows Bafana Bafana’s performance at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Egypt where they bowed out in the quarterfinals following a loss to Nigeria.
This was Baxter’s second stint as Bafana coach, having also resigned back in 2005 when he failed to qualify the team to the 2006 Fifa World Cup.
Baxter, whose contract was set to come to an end in 2022, hinted that the environment is not conducive for him to continue with this project.
Baxter has laid out the vision that he had presented to SAFA on his second stint with Bafana and highlighted the 18-month unbeaten spell with the national team.
It should also be noted that Bafana had the second oldest squad at the Afcon tournament and the continuity process of players from junior national teams was stalling.
SAFA Acting CEO Russell Paul has thanked Baxter for his contribution to Bafana in the two-year period he spent with the team.
Paul says Baxter also helped to push forward the Vision 2022 project.
Baxter becomes the 9th coach from those who were at the Afcon to vacate his seat.
SAFA President Danny Jordaan was clear during the tournament that they need a coach with a long-term vision to take Bafana forward.
Baxter was asked if he’s giving in to the fans, administrators or the media pressure.
As much as some within SAFA had indicated that they would like to see Baxter vacate his position, there was a concern that the cash-strapped organisation might not afford his payout. But the Briton made it easy by saying there’s no settlement package involved.
Having been in SA for some time now, counting his successful stints at Kaizer Chiefs and Supersport United, Baxter has seemingly mastered the art of of local football coaches who are quick to blame other factors when results don’t go their way. And Friday’s press conference was not an exception.
Now that Baxter is out of Bafana, the focus is on his next assignment and there’s a big possibility of him returning to Supersport United or Kaizer Chiefs.
Meanwhile, with a hectic programme that includes the start of the Afcon 2021 qualifiers in November with a crucial away match against Ghana, SAFA has got their work cut out for them to find Baxter’s successor. Paul says the process starts on Saturday at the technical committee meeting.
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– Report by Velile Mnyandu
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