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Stuart Baxter tells Bafana Bafana players to toe the line ahead of 2019 Afcon

3:30 PM IST 26/05/19
Stuart Baxter, Bafana Bafana
The Bafana mentor has stated that he will not tolerate any of his players demanding to be in the starting XI

Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter has issued a strong warning to any of his players who feel that they have a right to be in the starting XI ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

In the past, many of South Africa’s top international footballers have had a rather tainted relationship with the coach due to a lack of game time.

However, Baxter will not be tolerating any indiscretion from the players and has encouraged them to toe the line or be shipped out.

"If any of the squad that we've picked there want to tell the leadership of the national team that they are not bench players, then they will be removed from the list,” Baxter was quoted as saying by Vodacom Soccer.

Previously, players such as Kermit Erasmus and Thulani Serero among others have found themselves in hot water following their comments after sitting on the bench, but Baxter hopes that this time around there will be a lot more positivity.

"I don't think that Kermit, in a sensible moment, would make that sort of comment. But I can understand when people tell him that 'you should have been in the squad',” Baxter explained.

"So rather than listen to comments made by players in their disappointment, I would rather, in a calm moment, select them for the squad and in a calm moment have a discussion with them about 'I can't guarantee a place',” he added.

"Benni [McCarthy, Cape Town City coach] would have to guarantee him a place and put his arm around him and make him feel some love," he concluded.

Baxter recently named a provisional squad of 30, but will cut it down to 23 ahead of the showpiece event.

South Africa have been drawn into Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off on June 21 in Egypt.

Bafana will begin their Afcon campaign against Ivory Coast in Cairo, before meeting Namibia and Morocco as they look to reach the knockout stages.