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Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper coach Baxter reflects on controversial Bafana Bafana call-up

12:52 GMT 20/12/2019
Itumeleng Khune of Kaizer Chiefs and goalkeeper coach Lee Baxter, August 2019
Some Bafana fans accused the former Amakhosi head coach of nepotism for calling up his son

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper coach Lee Baxter has reflected on his South Africa call-up that sparked all the uproar in the country.

The South African Football Association (Safa) broke the news on their official Twitter on the morning of September 3, 2018.

"Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter had called up his son, Lee Baxter, as the team’s goalkeeper coach ahead of South Africa’s 2019 Afcon qualifier against Libya in Durban," a statement read.

Lee had been brought in as a stand-in for regular goalkeeper coach Andre Arendse, who was unavailable at the time and the move was heavily criticised.

The Scottish-Swedish mentor revealed that he expected the reaction from the football fraternity and he felt that he deserved the opportunity to work for the national team.

“I expected people to have the opinion, which everyone is entitled to. It’s just that when you’re inside the four walls you know the story is different,” Baxter told City Press.

“That point in time for the Libya camp, I was honoured that I got a call-up. And I was grateful for the club to let me go. Obviously I had to be on top of my game because at the end of the day the coach is also my father.

“I didn’t expect anything else because as a player I played under Stuart [at club level]. I never got anything for free. In fact, I had to work double as hard more than anyone else just to get selected."

The former Rangers and Sheffield United keeper also disclosed that he enjoyed the experience with Bafana keeping a clean sheet against Libya at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

“We have a very clear working relationship if we’ve worked together that – coach/player or coach and coach – father/son is totally separate and there is no preferential treatment at all," he said.

“But it’s been a great experience for me to work with the top players in the country and I also felt that I became a better coach.”

Stuart Baxter resigned as Bafana coach four months ago after guiding South Africa to the quarter-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

The British tactician has been replaced by local mentor Molefi Ntseki, who served as Baxter's assistant during the continental tournament.