South Africa appoint Baxter to end long search for coach

AFRICA

South Africa appoint Baxter to end long search for coach

Stuart Baxter has been appointed as the Bufana Bufana coach, following his impressive stewardship of SuperSport United in the Premier Soccer League.

FABRICE COFFRINI

AFP

Stuart Baxter has been appointed as the Bufana Bufana coach, following his impressive stewardship of SuperSport United in the Premier Soccer League.

After a long search, the South African Football Association (SAFA) announced on Thursday the appointment of the 63-year-old Englishman Stuart Baxter as the new Bafana Bafana coach.

Baxter coached South Africa back in 2004, but after just a year he quit as the team failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Baxter lo leave SuperSport United

For the rest of the ongoing season, the Englishman will continue to fulfill his coaching responsibilities with SuperSport United, team he has managed since 2016.

The final league fixtures will be played on May the 27th, after that, Baxter will begin his second spell for South Africa. This season, SuperSport went 19 matches unbeaten in the Premier Soccer League and are still to play the South African Cup semi-finals and the CAF Confederation Cup group phase.

Stanley Matthews, SuperSport chief executive said: “We did not want to lose Stuart as our coach. He has done a great job in getting us to the competitive level we expect as a club.

'However, we also understand that Stuart would like to have a final go at competing at a World Cup, and that would be a fantastic achievement for the country as a whole'.

Queiroz was approached

The SAFA had trouble finding a substitute for Shakes Mashaba, who was sacked from the job last December after being found guilty of gross misconduct and insubordination.

Beyond Baxter, several coaches from around the world showed interest in the job, while former Real Madrid manager Carlos Queiroz and current Cameroon coach Hugo Broos, were approached by SAFA.

Also, caretaker coach, Owen da Gama, stated that he was willing to occupy the position.

However, the five-month search ended as SuperSport United and SAFA reached an agreement for Baxter.

Baxter's second chance

Baxter’s first stint in charge of the Bafana Bafana ended as he failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

He will get a second bite of the cherry, as South Africa sit second of Group D in the CAF World Cup qualifiers, behind Burkina Faso.

However, Baxter’s immediate task is to qualify the Bafana Bafana to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, with an upcoming visit to Nigeria for the opening round match in June the 9th.

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