CHAN squad headache for Bafana coach Baxter
Stuart Baxter has managed to persuade champions Bidvest Wits to let him have utility back Sipho Nhlapo for the two African Nations Championship qualifiers against Botswana over the next fortnight but a delay in announcing the composition of the squad reveals there are continuing behind-the-scenes efforts to strengthen it.
With the two games falling outside of FIFA’s co-ordinated international calendar and clubs unwilling to release their best players as they begin their pre-season preparations‚ the national team coach and manager Barney Kujane have been forced to beg‚ plead and borrow.
It comes as South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan said on Sunday South Africa actually did not want to qualify for the CHAN-2018 tournament in Kenya because of the burden of competing in the event and the unavailability of players.
If they did make it to next January’s tournament he would send a team of players from clubs in the ABC Motsepe League‚ the third tier of South African football.
SAFA officials said last week the squad for the Botswana trip would be named by the end of the weekend but on Monday‚ there was still no word from SAFA House.
South Africa will travel to Francistown on Thursday for the first leg‚ which is being played on Saturday.
They then return home for the second leg‚ which is set for the Moruleng Stadium on Saturday July 22.
There are a total of two qualifying rounds for the CHAN finals.
Should South Africa get past the Zebras‚ who unveiled David Bright as their new coach on Monday‚ then they will play against the winner of the tie between Swaziland and and Zambia for a place in the finals.
The last round of qualifying is in August‚ at the same time as the new league season kicks off.