Steven Pienaar against the idea of Stuart Baxter possibly resigning as Bafana Bafana head coach

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In an interview with Goal, Pienaar urged Safa to look at the bigger picture and stick with Baxter even if Bafana fail to qualify for the Afcon finals

Former Bafana Bafana captain Steven Pienaar is against the idea of Stuart Baxter resigning as national team head coach should South Africa fail to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Egypt

Bafana will be away to Libya in their final group match this weekend, and they need at least a point to book their place at the Afcon finals. 

However, Pienaar told Goal in an exclusive interview that Bafana should not go to Tunisia to play for a draw as they could be inviting trouble.   

"The guys just have to go out there and not think about playing for a draw. They have to go there and actually win it; that's the mindset that they need going into this game. If you're going into the game thinking that a draw will be enough then you are asking for trouble. So, I'm sure that the manager will get it into the players' mind that we're going there for a win because that's important," Pienaar told Goal.

With Itumeleng Khune out injured, Stuart Baxter opted for Darren Keet, Ronwen Williams and Bruce Bvuma as his goalkeepers, and while Pienaar admits that Bafana will miss the Kaizer Chiefs skipper, he also believes the current shot-stoppers are more than capable to help the team beat Libya. 

Nonetheless, he urged the players to support whoever Baxter picks in the absence of Khune come Sunday.   

"I think we're good enough (as a country). We obviously have capable goalkeepers to replace Khune. He's a big character in the national team and players look up to him. He brings that calmness into the team, but besides that, Ronwen or Darren Keet have to play at that level as well. So, the guys have to support whoever the coach is going to put in and give him the necessary support," he said. 

Earlier this month, Baxter said he would gladly step down as head coach should Bafana fail in their quest to qualify for the 2019 Afcon finals, but Pienaar doesn't think it would be a good idea, echoing the sentiments shared by Lucas Radebe, who said the South African Football Association (Safa) should stick with the 65-year-old mentor beyond the qualification phases. 

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Furthermore, Pienaar admitted that the chopping and changing of coaches haven't been working for Bafana, saying that alone should be a lesson for Safa to give Baxter the necessary support even he fails to guide Bafana to their first Afcon qualification since the 2015 edition.  

"Obviously, as a manager, you want to play in competitions and for him, if he doesn't qualify, that is going to put a lot of pressure on him to continue with the job. But if Safa has a plan to qualify for the next World Cup then they have to stick with him [Baxter]. So, I'm with Lucas [Radebe] on this one. We need to have the coach longer in and give him our full backing," added Pienaar. 

"No, it hasn't been working. So, we just have to stick with the coach and give him our support," concluded Pienaar.  

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