17.7.2019 09:50 am
At some point in the very near future, maybe even right now, Stuart Baxter will be sitting somewhere in Sweden contemplating whether he wants to carry on as head coach of Bafana Bafana.
"Should I stay or should I go now? If I go, there will be trouble. And if I stay it will be double," so goes the song from the Clash, and if Baxter's press conference in Johannesburg on Saturday, conducted at times in a firestorm of fury, is anything to go by, he feels right now that staying is certainly double the trouble.
With the Premier Soccer League season now behind us (something, at least, that Kaizer Chiefs fans can be thankful for), it is time to focus on Bafana Bafana, and in the main, their bid to take on the continent at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Awards will, by their nature, stir debate, with some insisting that the trophy went to the wrong nominee, or indeed that the rightful winner was not nominated at all.
Kaizer Chiefs play in the Nedbank Cup final on Saturday and in normal circumstances, there would be some kind of redemption for Amakhosi, if they were to lift a first piece of silverware in four seasons.
The Absa Premiership title race should be decided this weekend, with the proviso that off-the-field matters could also intervene.
Maybe Fifa could, with all the money at their disposal, spend some implementing goalline technology across the globe, given how it has improved fair decisions in the game.
TS Galaxy, a team not even one season in the making, would be pulling off one of the all-time giant killings if they could beat Kaizer Chiefs in Durban in the final of the Nedbank Cup on May 18.
The happy days are so close for Orlando Pirates that their supporters can almost taste them.
Kaizer Chiefs coach, Ernst Middendorp did say last week that Bafana Bafana’s qualification for the Caf African Cup of Nations will have positive impact on the local game and I guess we can all now agree with the German. Just looking at last weekend’s performances shows a big improvement in the Absa Premiership.
Yesterday (Monday) was another tragic day in South African football, as it emerged that Free State Stars midfielder Sinethemba Jantjie had died in a car crash in the morning.
It is to Bafana Bafana’s immense credit that they faced, on Sunday, many of the cliched pitfalls of playing away on the African continent, and still qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The last time Bafana Bafana played a competitive match in Tunisia was in 2004, when Styles Phumo took charge of a pretty woeful campaign at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Stuart Baxter must hope his Bidvest Wits Bafana Bafana defenders show their international form, and not their current club form if and when they take to the field for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya in Sfax, Tunisia on March 24.
McCarthy’s continuous ruling out of his own side as title challengers reminds me a bit of Jose Mourinho, when he referred to Chelsea as a “little horse” in the race for the 2013/14 English Premier League title with Manchester City and Liverpool.
This could be a pivotal week in the race for the Absa Premiership, with Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates both involved in midweek action, before Saturday’s showdown sees a meeting of Masandawana and table-topping Bidvest Wits, while the Buccaneers are at home to AmaZulu.