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Stuart Baxter explains logic behind Cosafa Cup squad selection

1:30 PM GMT 27/05/2018
Stuart Baxter, Bafana Bafana
The Bafana coach hopes to build a strong squad as he plans for the 2018 Caf Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in September

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says he wants balance in his squad and has explained his reasoning behind his team selection for the upcoming Cosafa Cup.

The English manager will lead his men in the 2018 Cosafa Cup as they hope to win the trophy on home soil as the tournament gets underway on Sunday.

Baxter said he will keep a close eye on Seychelles as they are grouped with Bafana in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.

Having announced that his bench will have a new member in ex-midfielder Helman Mkhalele, Baxter will also be assisted by Molefi Ntseki in the Cosafa Cup, while Thabo Senong attends a coaching course.

The Briton revealed that the Orlando Pirates legend will be a part of the technical team but on “a learning expedition”.  

“The Germans have a cut off, I am not sure if it’s the Under-15s or what it is,” Baxter said.

“They say they are developing players to win (when they start until they are 15, and then from then on they say) winning to develop. It’s the same principle now," he said.

“We talk about development, partnerships and blah blah blah. But at no point when it’s the senior level do you say that therefore the results aren’t important because results are important," explained the boss.

“When we play the games, I am going to be whipping the lads to ensure that they know the importance of it," he continued.

“The most important thing is to get information that will equip us to move forward. The important thing isn’t that we win 1-0 from a late penalty that was a mistake from the referee and we played rubbish and I didn’t get any information," continued the former Kaizer Chiefs coach.

“We have to strike a balance between getting information and getting the results," he told reporters.

Speaking about his selection where he has called up the likes of Luther Singh and Kaizer Chiefs’ Ryan Moon, Baxter explained that he is wary of champions Zimbabwe.

Moreover, players such as Innocent Maela, are in the team after doing well in the Four Nations tournament that was held in March in Zambia.

“I think that it’s an interesting squad, if we get some work done we will do well. We’ll probably play Zambia or Zimbabwe (in the semi-finals)," explained the manager.

“These teams have strong squads. If we can match them with the squad that we have, that augurs well for South Africa,” said the former SuperSport United coach.

The core of the squad that Baxter selected has international experience whether it’s from competing on the continent with their clubs, the junior national teams or being part of the experimental Bafana team that played in the Cosafa Cup last year and the African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers.

“It was the same in Zambia. Some of the players that we took there did exactly that,” he added.

“They put their hands up and said hey, don’t throw me back in the pool. I could be around for a while," said the 64-year-old.

“This is going to be exactly the same. It would have been fantastic if we had a get together or a friendly with the squad that’s going to play in the Afcon qualifiers because I won’t have had them together since the Senegal match,” concluded the coach.

As hosts, Bafana will begin their campaign in the quarter-finals on Saturday against the winner of Group A which could be either Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique or Seychelles