After months of uncertainty and the dismissal of Shakes Mashaba, SuperSport United coach, Stuart Baxter has officially been named the national coach of South Africa.
The road towards attaining the Bafana Bafana coach title was however paved with immense difficulties. SAFA (South African Football Association) did not renew Baxter’s contract after the team did not qualify for the 2006 Soccer World Cup in Germany says sport24. This served as an immediate reflection of him as a coach, being responsible for the team at the time. Added to this was his recent hospitalisation as questions were raised about his competency health-wise.
Baxter is now placed under the agreement of completing the SuperSport United final league match on 27 May before he resumes to SAFA. Although Baxter has proven his worth as coach in areas such as his success with coaching Kaizer Chiefs, he falls short in terms of international experience; an expected SAFA criteria of a minimum of 5-10 years.
“Baxter is a man of undoubted integrity and experience and is clearly prepared to roll up his sleeves and take on the second opportunity for him to help Bafana reach a World Cup Final tournament - namely the one in Russia next year” says sport24.
Supporters cannot help but wonder why Baxter would risk a “stable and secure position” in his local club to take on a position which was met with uncertainty for a long period of time. According to sport24, if SAFA and SuperSport media releases are to be believed, then the main motivation indeed was to rectify his previous Bafana experience.
Under the spotlight, Baxter has much to prove as the Bafana coach, especially to those spectators who are confronted with doubt. The task is going to be difficult, but Baxter’s expertise gives hope to the hopeful.