Whilst many have questioned striker Kermit Erasmus’exclusion in the Bafana Bafana squad to face Libya , former Bafana assistant coach Khabo Zondo believes coach Stuart Baxter must be supported in his decisions.
The 1996 African champions are set to face the Mediterranean Knights in their final 2019 Caf African Cup of Nations qualifier this month away in Tunisia.
“Maybe I am going to respond in a different way, I know that I was once on that bench with Pitso (Mosimane) as co-coaches, we were asked about the exclusion of Benni (McCarthy) and I think we were going to play against Zambia,” Zondo told Goal.
“Our attitude about players is based on the opponent and at what the game demands. So coming to Erasmus, he is a great player there is no doubt about that,” he said.
“He is one of the best strikers in the league and in the country, but we are not in the mind of the coach as far as his decisions. He has selected players based on how he wants to play in terms of structure and so on,” responded the Nedbank Ke Yona team coach.
“We can say he must have selected Erasmus, but he knows why he did not. It is really difficult to say why he left him, maybe it’s because he doesn’t believe he can do well in this match and so on,” he added.
“There is no doubt about the qualities of the striker, with him in the squad I believe chances of getting a goal are very high, but a coach is the chess game controller,” said the former Bafana boss.
On the other hand, the former Golden Arrows manager says the inclusion of Lars Veldwijk is risky, but football is all about that because it can turn out to be a worthy one.
Although Erasmus has netted three goals in as many Premier Soccer League (PSL) games in Cape Town City’s previous games, the Dutch-born striker has scored 17 times in 29 matches in all competitions for Sparta Rotterdam.
“Yeah look, when it comes to that one, it’s a player that we have not seen and we only rely on the internet to see his games and statistics,” he continued.
“It becomes difficult to have an opinion or decision when it comes to his performances. We can’t say the coach is right or wrong to have him in the squad,” he added.
“However, because we have a very tough match ahead of us, I would not have him for minor matches and see how he combines with the rest of the guys,” said the former Tembisa Classic mentor.
“Football on the other hand is like that, you have to be brave and take risks and it could be a worthy risk by the coach for the match against Libya,” he noted.
“All in all we should be positive as South Africans and rally behind the coach and the team. He will lead us and he has put his head on the block, we might have different opinions, but his decision on his work is final,” said the 57-year-old.
“Let us just support him because we will be proud as a nation when he succeeds, if he fails it’s hard luck, but we will know deep down in our hearts that he was doing the right thing for the country,” he concluded.