Premium Journalist
3 minute read
7 Apr 2019
4:32 pm

Baxter, Ellis plot international paths for Bafana and Banyana


Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis and Amajita coach Thabo Senong, all made presentations to the SA Football Association (Safa) NEC in Durban on Saturday.

Stuart Baxter, coach of South Africa (Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix)

Baxter whose team booked their place in the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament scheduled for Egypt in June, insisted on building a team with discipline on and off the pitch of play.

He called on the continued support of all stakeholders such as the Premier Soccer League (PSL), the media and fans.

“It is important to have the buy-in of all of all stakeholders in order to read from the same page,” said Baxter.

The Bafana Bafana coach said the average age of his current squad was now 26 years, down from the 29-year mark when he took charge.

“We need to build a team that will dream it, believe it and achieve it and the way we package AFCON is critical,” added Baxter.

“We need a balancing act considering there are a number of tournaments taking place at the same time,” he said in reference that he will talk to the national under-23 and under-20 coaches so that all three squads utilise the available players in the best way possible.

Baxter admitted that Bafana Bafana was the darling of the nation and was impressed by the huge turnout at the airport to welcome the team from Tunisia where they beat Libya 2-1 last month to qualify for the continental showpiece tournament.

He added that after the draw on April 12, the technical team will be in a position to know issues like the training base, call updates and other important matters.

Coach Ellis spoke about the journey her team has taken to where they are today having qualified for the Fifa Women’s World Cup. In 2018, the national senior women’s team also defended the Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup title and ended as runners up at the African Women Cup of Nations.

“This is our first time going to the World Cup and while results are important, we should not perch our expectations too high,” said Ellis, a former Banyana captain.
“But we need to do well because we are bidding to host 2023 Fifa World Cup in South Africa so it is important for Banyana Banyana to do well on all fronts.”

Ellis emphasised the need for players to study and have a fallback plan when they hang up their boots.

Amajita coach Senong complimented the synergy among all national team coaches, describing it as a recipe for the current success.

“All coaches are on the same page,” commented Senong.
“We are going to our Fifa World Cup for the second successive tournament and this is thanks to all coaches working together.”
He added that the aim of the under-20 team now was to break the jinx of not making it past the first round.

The Amajita camp starts on April 16 at the High Performance Centre in Tshwane while the final camp will commence in Europe on May 4.

Senong said Amajita was the foundation of Safa’s Vision 2022 hence it was critical for them to do well.


For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.