Thu. Sep 24th, 2020

Bafana Bafana: Baxter decries last minute preparations

BAFANA BAFANA AFCON SQUADIt hasn’t been smooth-sailing for Stuart Baxter’s charges in their preparations for the 2019 Afcon tournament.

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Bafana Bafana have not had the smoothest of preparations ahead of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt, and coach Stuart Baxter believe the side has no other option but to “get on with it”.

Batter’s charges are drawn in a tough Group D alongside past winners Ivory Coast and Morocco, as well as a resurgent Namibian side.

Prior to jetting off to the UAE for preparations, the Brit had to come to terms with not having some of the players he had picked in his preliminary squad, after uncapped duo Nikola Tavares and Joel Untersee had to withdraw due to passport issues, while midfielder Keagan Dolly pulled out with an injury.

Another player who was ruled out of selection is defender Rivaldo Coetzee, who failed to communicate with the technical team after being allowed time out to tend to his ill mother.

On top of problems with playing personnel, Baxter has had to contend with time constraints, which saw the squad pretty much sneak out of the country earlier in the week, when they would have preferred a friendly match on home soil, as well as a proper send-off, before departing.

Baxter believes they now have to do the best they can.

“It’s too much last minute. It’s too much being at the last minute trying to solve all the problems.

“I’m disappointed. It would have been nice to have that interaction with the fans and to put ourselves on the line in a friendly, so that we know what we are working on going forward.

“But the world is not perfect, so I have to get on with it. We have to do the best we can.”

Stuart Baxter

Bafana have, however, secured two friendly matches, with a game against Ghana in Dubai on Saturday, before flying to Egypt to face Angola in a venue yet to be decided five days before kicking off their Afcon campaign.

They face Ivory Coast first up on Monday, 24 June before taking on Morocco four days later, a match which is followed by their final group game against Namibia on 1 July.

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