Stuart Baxter: I have had little time to prepare for World Cup qualifiers due to Chan withdrawals

Stuart Baxter
The national side has been hit by numerous withdrawals ahead of their 2018 Chan qualifier with Zambia

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says the withdrawals of no less than 10 players have been frustrating, and time consuming on his preparation for the crunch 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Cape Verde.

“I should be preparing for the World Cup matches. They are our priority, but due to the fact that Chan is not played on Fifa dates and therefore clubs are not obliged to release players, I’ve had my hands full trying to get a squad together. You won’t believe the amount of time and energy I’ve spent on Chan,” Baxter told the media.

Bafana will play Zambia in the first-leg of the final round of qualifiers in East London on Saturday afternoon, before playing the return-leg in Ndola on August 19.

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Baxter confirmed they will have to alter the squad once more after the clash in the Eastern Cape with six more players set to pull out due to club commitments.

“Getting a squad for this first-leg has been very difficult. I’ve lost count of how many players have pulled out. And to make things worse, another six to eight from this squad will be going back to their clubs next week. So, we will be looking for replacements to go to Zambia," he said.

“It’s difficult to know who is staying and who is going. It keeps us from staying focused on what we want to get out of Chan,” Baxter concluded.