Bax­ter keeps tabs on play­ers in Europe

SA coach catches up on young tal­ent at French clubs

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Marc Stry­dom

Bafana Bafana coach Stu­art Bax­ter has re­turned from an in­for­ma­tion-gath­er­ing and re­la­tion­ship-strength­en­ing tour of French clubs.

Bafana Bafana coach Stu­art Bax­ter re­turned this week from an in­for­ma­tion-gath­er­ing and re­la­tion­ship-strength­en­ing tour of the French clubs where SA play­ers are based.

Bax­ter vis­ited the clubs of Le­bo­gang Moth­iba (RC Stras­bourg)‚ Kea­gan Dolly (Mont­pel­lier HSC) and Bon­gani Zungu (Amiens SC).

“I was in France [to visit] Kea­gan Dolly‚ Lebo Moth­iba and Bon­gani Zungu. Le­bo­gang Phiri [at EA Guingamp] was in­jured and not play­ing, so I didn’t get to see him this time around.

“I was vis­it­ing some of the clubs that have got our in­jured play­ers‚” Bax­ter said.

“I wanted to see Lebo Moth­iba’s club be­cause I think he’s go­ing to be an im­por­tant player for a long time for SA.

“I went to Mont­pel­lier and met their phys­io­ther­a­pist and got an up­date on Kea­gan’s in­jury. I met Bon­gani Zungu’s sport­ing di­rec­tor at Amiens.

“Then I went to Stras­bourg‚ just to watch Lebo Moth­iba train, and I sat with his coach [Thierry Lau­rey] and pres­i­dent [Marc Keller] and asked: ‘Are you happy with ev­ery­thing — what can we do for you’? It was good. And I think that re­la­tion­ship we have there is go­ing to be vi­tal go­ing for­ward. I don’t think Stras­bourg will be his fi­nal des­ti­na­tion — I think he’ll move on.”

Bax­ter re­turned to the news that Safa had agreed‚ pend­ing gov­ern­ment ap­proval‚ to re­place Cameroon as next year’s Africa Cup of Na­tions hosts.

He said he would travel to see some of SA’s emerg­ing young tal­ent based in Por­tu­gal in De­cem­ber or Jan­uary. “When I go back [to his home

in Swe­den] and cel­e­brate Christ­mas‚ on the way back to SA I’m go­ing to go and visit a few of the younger play­ers, like Luther Singh and Thabo Cele in Por­tu­gal‚” Bax­ter said.

“I’ve got to get around and fig­ure out how we can turn these young guys into play­ers we can use for Qatar [the 2022 World Cup].

“I’ve got to see how they’re pro­gress­ing‚ if they are hav­ing any prob­lems at the club that we need to know about?

“How do the clubs see their devel­op­ment‚ do they see them as a No9 or a No10?

“I think we need to co-op­er­ate on that and the clubs need to be viewed more as part­ners and as friends.

“I’ve tried to do it with the South African clubs‚ and now I need to get around to the Eu­ro­pean clubs — be­cause very of­ten they can turn out to be the stum­bling blocks.” Bax­ter said.

/Lau­rens Lind­hout/ Getty Im­ages

Gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion: Bon­gani Zungu in ac­tion for his French club Amiens. Bafana coach Stu­art Bax­ter re­cently had a meet­ing with the club’s sport­ing di­rec­tor.

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