Bax­ter’s tech­ni­cal staff tak­ing shape

• Tech­ni­cal team fi­nally com­ing to­gether to the sat­is­fac­tion of coach

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Marc Stry­dom

Bafana Bafana coach Stu­art Bax­ter is happy that his tech­ni­cal staff is tak­ing shape and of his own choos­ing as the team pre­pares for Satur­day’s 2019 Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fier against Sey­chelles at FNB Sta­dium.

Bafana Bafana coach Stu­art Bax­ter is happy that his tech­ni­cal staff is tak­ing shape and that it is of his own choos­ing as the team pre­pares for Satur­day’s 2019 Africa Cup of Na­tions (Afcon) qual­i­fier against Sey­chelles at FNB Sta­dium.

Bax­ter has roped in former striker Shaun Bartlett as his sec­ond as­sis­tant coach – to add to SA Un­der-17 coach Molefi Nt­seki – for the back-to-back qual­i­fiers against Sey­chelles‚ where Bafana also travel to the In­dian Ocean is­land for Tues­day’s sec­ond match.

Former Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria and La­montville Golden Ar­rows coach Bartlett is still not per­ma­nent‚ and the Sey­chelles matches ap­pear to be a form of trial to see if he fits.

But Bartlett’s ar­rival this week cer­tainly seemed to give Bax­ter a tech­ni­cal staff – which also in­cludes the head coach’s former con­di­tion­ing trainer Joshua Smith and goal keeper coach An­dre Arendse – that can fit with Bax­ter’s philosophy.

Bartlett was a loyal play­ing ser­vant to Bax­ter in the coach’s pre­vi­ous stint with Bafana be­tween 2004 and 2005.

“All roads lead to Rome‚ I sup­pose. It’s taken a long time‚ and it’s been if-ing and but-ing and it’s been back­wards and for­wards‚” Bax­ter said of his tech­ni­cal staff fi­nally show­ing some form of fi­nal­ity since his ap­point­ment 20 months ago.

“What I would like is to have peo­ple in the tech­ni­cal staff who oth­ers can iden­tify with. I was in­ter­ested to in­tro­duce Ru­lani [Mok­wena‚ Or­lando Pi­rates’ as­sis­tant coach] not to steal him from his club but to in­tro­duce him [to in­ter­na­tional foot­ball].

“With Shaun and An­dre‚ peo­ple can iden­tify with them. I want them to be qual­i­fied and I want that to be a great ex­am­ple.

“They are peo­ple who I can work with. And so we are get­ting there. But it does take a while be­cause there are a lot of other con­sid­er­a­tions.”

Some of Bax­ter’s fail­ure to ap­point a sec­ond as­sis­tant coach is self-in­flicted. He ex­per­i­mented with Quin­ton For­tune as an as­sis­tant who would be based in Europe and SA in 2017‚ and re­port back on over­seas-based play­ers. The move was un­pop­u­lar with the pub­lic‚ as For­tune had of­ten turned his back on the na­tional team as a player.

Bartlett was a loyal ser­vant to the na­tional team as a player and has more coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence than For­tune.

What seems clear is that any form of sta­bil­ity in the Bafana tech­ni­cal team‚ which has also seen SA U-20 coach Thabo Senong ap­par­ently with­draw his ser­vices as an as­sis­tant‚ ap­pears cru­cial for Bax­ter as qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Cameroon 2019 Afcon grows nearer.

● Dino Ndlovu be­lieves he can im­part ex­pe­ri­ence on Bafana’s young strik­ing duo‚ Le­bo­gang Moth­iba and Percy Tau‚ as part of the squad to meet Sey­chelles.

Ndlovu fi­nally ar­rived in SA late on Wed­nes­day hav­ing had a flight can­celled in Hong Kong‚ en route from north­ern China‚ where he has scored 18 goals in 21 games for sec­ond divi­sion Zhe­jiang Green­town.

The striker’s call-up has raised eye­brows given the low level that he plies at his club.

He said he could un­der­stand South Africans’ scep­ti­cism about Bafana in gen­eral and the team’s no­to­ri­ous in­abil­ity to bury chances‚ but he felt the pub­lic should get be­hind the na­tional team against Sey­chelles.

“With all due re­spect to the peo­ple of SA‚ credit should be given to the play­ers‚” Ndlovu said. “The peo­ple must come and sup­port this week­end - they will never be dis­ap­pointed.”

Bax­ter has called up Cape Town City’s Gift Links as a re­place­ment for in­jured Sundowns striker Sibu­siso Vi­lakazi.

/Sa­muel Shivambu/Back­pagePix

Work­ing out a plan: Stu­art Bax­ter, right, with his stand-in as­sis­tant Shaun Bartlett at a Bafana train­ing ses­sion ahead of Satur­day’s qual­i­fier against Sey­chelles.

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