Baxter: I won't throw young Bafana Bafana players to the wolves

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Baxter intends to give as many young players as possible a chance, but he understands that he needs to gradually expose them to international football

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is looking forward to his new challenge after leading SuperSport United to another Nedbank Cup crown over the weekend.

The Englishman is looking to use the Cosafa Cup and Chan tournaments to blood in youngsters, with their Chan qualifier against Botswana taking place next month.

“This is a new chapter for me. I’m looking forward to guiding Bafana. I will use the Cosafa Cup and Chan as development by giving young players international experience,” Baxter told the Daily Sun.

“I plan to use basically the same squad for both tournaments, but I won’t throw young players to the wolves. I have also managed to get a couple of solid experienced players to balance the squad,” Baxter said.

They were forced to release Mandla Masango and Lebogang Phir after their European clubs in Randers and French side EA Guingamp respectively demanded that they report for pre-season.

Phiri’s place has been taken by Maritzburg United’s Mohau Mokate, and the void left by Masango has been filled by Stellenbosch FC’s Jamie Webber.

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“Chiefs (manager) Bobby Motaung and Benni (McCarthy) were brilliant. And even clubs who could not release players were very helpful. I’m delighted with the response of all the clubs I have spoken to. It’s not easy getting players release for Cosafa and Chan, as both fall outside the Fifa calendar,” Baxter said.

Furthermore, Baxter is also keen to look at Greece-based midfielder Lehlohonolo ‘Vieira’ Maselesa and adds he is keen to give him a chance as well.

“I have watched him when he played at Orlando Pirates and he is a big midfielder like Bongani Zungu. We don’t have too many such well-built midfielders. So, he will get a chance,” Baxter said.

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