COMMENT: Is Stuart Baxter selecting his Bafana Bafana squads purely on merit?

If Baxter is selecting his Bafana Bafana squads on merit then where is Mlambo of Pirates, Ntshangase of Chiefs and Cape Town City captain Mkhize?

Very often the South African public is told that Bafana Bafana squads are selected purely on merit and nothing else, but looking at the latest squad to face Seychelles, this isn't always the case. 

While Stuart Baxter selected a squad that is capable of beating the Islanders, there are still several players who needed to be given a chance. 

Things like age and international experience are often taken into consideration when selecting the squads, but is this all that the national coaches should be limiting their selection to? 

Every player that is blossoming at club level should be given a fair chance to represent their country, and this shouldn't even be debated. 

Players such as Xola Mlambo, Siphelele Ntshangase and Thamsanqa Mkhize have done brilliantly for their respective teams thus far, but they continue to be overlooked by national team selectors. 

xola m

Some may argue Mlambo's age, 27, is the main reason for his exclusion from the squad, but others like me may differ with this opinion. 

For example, not so long ago, Siphiwe Tshabalala was included in the Bafana squad purely because was in scintillating form for Kaizer Chiefs, and almost everyone was pleased with his return to the national team. 

It baffles me that not even Jabulani Maluleke has been called up to the national team despite showing no signs of slowing down at his age. 

If Bafana want to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, then it's important to select the best players the country has at its disposal without looking at their background or teams that they are playing for. 

Yes, the South African Football Association (Safa) has Vision 2022 to build towards, but let it not be used when there are no answers for the exclusion of some players. 

Jabulani Maluleke, Polokwane City & Wiseman Meyiwa, Kaizer Chiefs

The pool of players was widened a long a time ago, but some players who were deemed the future of Bafana Bafana two or three years ago, have not been performing and cannot continue to be selected at the expense of other performing players. 

If Bafana were to play in a Fifa World Cup next week, I bet we'd still see the same players that Baxter continues to select even in the face of the unimpressive results that he has been getting of late.

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Is Baxter selecting his Bafana squads purely on merit? The answer is no, because those who should be there continue to be overlooked. 

Our technical team needs to do a serious introspection and set out a clear selection criteria without giving excuses.  

Let Bafana lose or draw matches with their best players in the squad, and perhaps the public would not cry too much about team selection when the team fails to qualify and compete for silverware at major tournaments such as the Afcon.