Stuart Baxter, former coach of Supersport United ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Monday Sep 04, 2017. 19:00
Stuart Baxter has rubbished claims that he is biased toward SuperSport United players in his team selection for South Africa.
The current Bafana Bafana squad boasts no less than six United players - Ronwen Williams, Reyaad Pieterse, Clayton Daniels, Morgan Gould, Dean Furman and Bradley Grobler - all of whom worked under Baxter in his time with the Tshwane club (early 2015 to midway through this year).
In addition, Baxter also invited SuperSport goalkeeper coach Andre Arendse to serve on the technical team in the absence of Alex Heredia.
There has been a suggestion that Baxter relies too heavily on his former club’s players, with this criticism growing in intensity following a 2-1 defeat away to Cape Verde Islands on Saturday night.
However, the coach has shrugged off any suggestion that he unduly favours SuperSport players and has explained the reasoning behind his selection.
“Alex Heredia, at short notice, went to Philadelphia and Andre is the one we pulled in because he is local, close to the camp and he knows what I want,” Baxter is quoted by IOL.
“And also, when you’ve got Reyaad and Ronwen, they are comfortable with him and we were going into a high-pressure situation.
“There is a logic there - it’s not just selection with heartstrings. I wouldn’t work like that, in terms of favours or picking with your previous loyalties.
“There is that and there is the centre-backs. Unfortunately we had to withdraw Rivaldo [Coetzee].
“When you can get someone local that is great because he can attach himself to the camp quickly, then he’s got to know what you want, and Clayton does.
“And then with set plays we don’t have to do a lot of work, players don’t have to go in like a rabbit in the headlights when you get bombarded with set-plays in the last minute.”
Baxter added, “As I have said, I don’t make those decisions based on emotions. I make those in my opinion, and if there are people with a different opinion, that is football. And that is probably the beauty of football.
“And I want people to know that I make those on facts and not fiction.”
South Africa will host Cape Verde for the return match in Durban on Tuesday evening.