DITCH SAFA READY TO BAX­TER

If coach does not sort out his con­trac­tual is­sues with Su­per­Sport, he may lose out on Bafana

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Safa is ready to ditch Stu­art Bax­ter as the next coach of Bafana Bafana. In the lat­est twist to the seem­ingly nev­erend­ing Bafana coach­ing saga, it has emerged that Safa has given Bax­ter’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives un­til this week­end to sort them­selves out, or they’ll need to for­get about the deal.

City Press has learnt that Safa is not pre­pared to pay Su­per­Sport United com­pen­sa­tion, which is be­lieved to be in the re­gion of R2.5 mil­lion.

A few weeks ago, the deal seemed to be in the bag as Bax­ter was ready to re­turn to his old job, which he va­cated in 2005.

Bafana Bafana have been with­out a coach since Shakes Mashaba was shown the door in De­cem­ber. As­sis­tant coach Owen Da Gama was in charge of the friendly games against GuineaBis­sau and An­gola last month.

A high-rank­ing Safa of­fi­cial said they are ready to search else­where if Bax­ter does not re­solve his con­trac­tual is­sues.

It is be­lieved that Bax­ter ex­pects Safa to buy him out of his con­tract with Su­per­Sport, while the as­so­ci­a­tion be­lieves he has to ne­go­ti­ate his way out of his sit­u­a­tion.

“The fact is, Safa does not have money, so it does not want to pay any com­pen­sa­tion,” said the in­sider.

Safa chief ex­ec­u­tive Den­nis Mum­ble said he hoped to fi­nalise the deal with Bax­ter soon.

“We are fairly close to re­solv­ing the is­sue with his rep­re­sen­ta­tive,” said Mum­ble on Fri­day.

“But it is al­most a done deal as we have agreed terms with the coach. How­ever, we are not dis­cussing any­thing with Su­per­Sport as it is a personal mat­ter be­tween us and him.”

Mum­ble con­firmed that the stum­bling block was United’s in­sis­tence on com­pen­sa­tion.

“We are not about to go that route as we will ex­pose our­selves to sim­i­lar is­sues in fu­ture. Where does it stop? The next coach would want to do the same thing.”

He con­firmed that Safa thought it had the deal sealed three weeks ago.

“We thought we had con­cluded the deal as we had agreed on ev­ery­thing. The only is­sue has been when he would leave Su­per­Sport.

“But now maybe we will be able to get him sooner as [Su­per­Sport] seem to no longer be in the ti­tle race.”

How­ever, he said they could even man­age to get him at a later stage.

“It’s not a big deal when he gets re­leased – we have enough in­tel­li­gence on the ground to know what is hap­pen­ing with our play­ers. He is also here to mon­i­tor the play­ers. It is a mat­ter of how they want him to han­dle the han­dover at Su­per­Sport with the new coach.”

On Thurs­day, Bax­ter said he was in the dark about the pro­posed move and said the mat­ter was up to Safa and United.

“I haven’t heard from [Safa of­fi­cials] be­cause they were away in the US, so I can’t give an up­date,” said Bax­ter.

The English­man has ad­mit­ted that his un­cer­tainty has af­fected the team’s per­for­mance.

United has lost three suc­ces­sive league matches since Bax­ter be­came linked with the Bafana job.

PHOTO: ROGER SEDRES / GALLO IMAGES

CHAM­PION Wayde van Niekerk made up for his loss in the 100m on Fri­day by tak­ing top hon­ours in the 200m race at the ASA Se­nior Cham­pi­onships at the Puk McArthur Sta­dium yes­ter­day

PHOTO: SA­MUEL SHIVAMBU / BACKPAGEPIX

IN THE MIX Stu­art Bax­ter’s move to Bafana hangs in the bal­ance

PHOTO: SIFISO NKOSI

DONE DEAL Den­nis Mum­ble says Safa will not pay com­pen­sa­tion

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