South Africa coach Stuart Baxter
Thursday Feb 14, 2019. 13:15
South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has expressed his gratitude after the country’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) agreed to postpone a key selection of matches in March.
The decision allows Baxter to have extra time to prepare Bafana Bafana for their crunch 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to Libya next month. SA must avoid defeat in order to secure a berth at the tournament.
The PSL will postpone three league games involving national team players (SuperSport v Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic v Bidvest Wits and Cape Town City v Polokwane City on March 16-17) allowing Baxter to have time with the players outside of the Fifa international window.
"I'm eternally grateful to the PSL and the clubs for being so cooperative. What is does is give me a chance to have an extra couple of sessions," he told the BBC Sport.
"We are going to get there as quickly as possible. Whatever shenanigans we might have to face, let's get that over and done with sooner rather than later.
"We'll deal with it and acclimatise. It will be a smaller group at the beginning, not the whole squad but I still think that is preferable to what we would usually get."
Baxter and Bafana’s home-based players can fly to Tunisia a week ahead of their match in Sfax against Libya (who host ‘home’ games on neutral territory due to ongoing security concerns).
They will be joined on 18 March by both the European-based contingent as well as players from Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, who are in African Champions League action on March 16.