Bafana Bafana coach Baxter questions the timing of Zambia friendly

Shina Oludare
Following the announcement of the upcoming friendly against Chipolopolo, not everyone in the Bafana camp is excited about the encounter

It was recently revealed that the South African Football Association (Safa) had organised an international friendly against Zambia on Tuesday.

Bafana Bafana are only scheduled to arrive back in South Africa on Monday morning, and reports suggest that several members within the Bafana squad are not entirely pleased with the timing of the fixture in the North West province.

Coach Stuart Baxter has also had his say on the matter, and he questioned the timing of the fixture, but said they have no choice but to play.

“I’m one with the players on this, but it’s okay. We know the ­obligations and we just have to hang in there,” Baxter told the media.

“It’s not easy because we land on Monday morning and play 24 hours later. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t want it that way for many reasons. You can imagine what the clubs would have said when we sent their players back, and 48 hours later, they are involved in a game. Scheduling, contact with clubs and ­confidence ­become issues,” Baxter added.

Meanwhile, the 63-year-old has chosen to look at the positives, and has stated that he will ring the changes on Tuesday night. 

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“It’s a chance to showcase the future of South African football, and to play youngsters and see what they can offer. Let’s see what Mobara, Percy (Tau) and Lorenzo (Gordinho) can do together and bring some ­experience to help them along,” Baxter said.

“Winning is important to me, but is it ­important for the country if one player gets 100 caps and another is still on six?” he asked.

“I know I will take stick if we lose, but at least I know I am doing the right thing. People must know where we are coming from so they can understand our decisions. The ­important thing is we need to have everyone’s buy-in, even if not everyone will agree with us,” Baxter concluded.