For bet­ter or worse, SA is stuck with Bax­ter for next num­ber of years

Safa can’t af­ford to fire men­tor due to fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions

Sunday World - - Sport - By Go­molemo Motshwane

Like it or not, Bafana Bafana coach Stu­art Bax­ter isn’t go­ing any­where any time soon. There have been grow­ing calls from a num­ber of quar­ters for Safa to give Bax­ter the boot.

This af­ter a string of sub­stan­dard per­for­mances un­der his watch which in­clude fail­ures over up­starts Cape Verde, Libya and Sey­chelles.

The most re­cent was their fail­ure to beat an ama­teur na­tional team – the Sey­chelles – in their 2019 Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fier in mid­week. The dis­plays un­der Bax­ter have in­spired lit­tle hope that Bafana can chal­lenge some of the stronger na­tional teams on the con­ti­nent and the world.

This led to min­is­ter of sport and recre­ation Tokozile Xasa lash­ing out at Bafana for the poor re­sults. “If they con­tinue not to take things se­ri­ously‚ peo­ple will be held ac­count­able. We want to en­gage with them mov­ing for­ward.

“The prob­lems have been grow­ing when it comes to men’s foot­ball in the coun­try. They are not ex­celling.

“Bafana play­ers must put in the ef­fort when they are play­ing for the coun­try and un­der­stand the im­por­tance of play­ing and hav­ing na­tional colours,” Xasa said.

How­ever, Bax­ter is not about to re­sign and re­lin­quish mil­lions of rand that are due to him in his con­tract. The 65year-old coach has been known to be a money-grab­ber as was seen when he nearly re­joined Kaizer Chiefs in June.

Bax­ter wanted to have his cake and eat it when he wanted a pay­out to leave Bafana while also lin­ing him­self up for a big sign­ing-on fee and salary at Na­turena. His em­ploy­ers know very well that they can­not even think of fir­ing him be­fore they con­sider the fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions.

Safa’s dire fis­cal trou­bles have been well-doc­u­mented this year, with the fed­er­a­tion hav­ing suf­fered a R20m loss.

They lit­er­ally can­not af­ford to fire Bax­ter. This is fu­elled by the fact that Safa’s big­gest source of rev­enue – the SABC – is in a fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Safa makes 70% of its in­come from the SABC, which amounts to about R100m a year. In the last two weeks, the two bod­ies have had pub­lic spats that sug­gest the mat­ter is far from be­ing re­solved. Like it or not, for bet­ter or worse, we are stuck with Bax­ter for now at least.

/ Veli Nh­lapo

Aubrey Modiba of Bafana and Karl Hop­prich of Sey­chelles dur­ing their Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fier at the FNB Sta­dium, where Bafana won 6-0 be­fore draw­ing 0-0 in the re­turn match mid­week.

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