The current SuperSport United mentor will take over as Bafana head coach on a permanent basis after the Nedbank Cup final on June 24, if Matsatsantsa get there, the club’s CEO Stan Matthews told The Citizen.
SuperSport play their semifinal against Chippa United on May 13.
This means Baxter will definitely not be in charge for the entirety of SuperSport’s campaign in the 2017 Caf Confederation Cup group stages, which ends on the weekend of July 7 to 9.
Matsatsantsa have, meanwhile, already given Baxter permission to lead Bafana in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria on June 10 in Uyo.
SuperSport are even prepared to allow assistant coach Kaitano Tembo to lead the side in their Caf Confederation Cup group match against TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi on the weekend of June 2 to 4, if necessary.
“If there is a chance of Stuart going from one venue to another then maybe he can, but that is something we need to discuss with Safa, a worst-case scenario is that we would send a team with (assistant coach) Kaitano Tembo,” added Matthews.
Baxter’s appointment brings to an end the South African Football Association’s lengthy chase for a new coach, after Safa president Danny Jordaan announced in February he wanted a new man appointed by the end of that month.
It seems that Baxter was at least Safa’s fourth choice, after attempts to get Carlos Queiroz, Herve Renard and Hugo Broos fell by the wayside.
“Safa believes the coach has the necessary skills to navigate the tough qualification path for the Africa Cup of Nations and the Fifa World Cup. We thank SuperSport United for their support towards the goals of the association and its national teams,” said Safa CEO Dennis Mumble.
This is, of course, Baxter’s second spell in charge of Bafana, after he led the team between 2004 and 2005, qualifying for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, but failing to get to the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
This time the pressure will be on to get the team to Russia 2018, and he comes in with Bafana in a decent position, with four points from their opening two World Cup qualifiers. Bafana have back-to-back qualifiers against Cape Verde in late August and early September.
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