As Stuart Baxter rallies his troops for Afcon 2019 preparations, he may have to contend with a few distracted members of his squad as the tournament coincides with a rather busy period in football circles.
The competition kicks off on 21 June, a little more than a week before the local transfer window is set to open.
Of the 27-man preliminary squad assembled for a training camp, there’s a few players reportedly already on the verge of switching club’s ahead of the new season.
Maritzburg United midfielder Fortune Makaringe is said to be headed to Orlando Pirates, while Brighton and Hove Albion’s Percy Tau faces an uncertain future in Europe, having spent his first season abroad in Belgium’s second tier.
However, the more immediate task at hand requires full focus, and Baxter is aware of the threat the transfer window could potentially pose to his preparations.
“The only way to combat it is to make sure the players are focused on what’s happening here, and not what could be happening elsewhere.
“You can talk about it, you can give them advice, and you can hope that the strength of the team spirit and ‘we-feeling’ will keep them together.
“Do you have any guarantees? No, you don’t because that’s the world that we live in today, isn’t it?”
Baxter is set to trim his squad down to 23 prior to Bafana departing for Egypt.
South Africa have been drawn with Morocco, Namibia and the Ivory Coast in a tough Group D.
They begin their campaign against the West Africans in Cairo on Monday, 24 June.