Baxter cracks down on Bafana party animals

Coach says he will not tolerate players 'overstepping the mark'

21 September 2017 - 07:21 By MARC STRYDOM
Coach Stuart Baxter. File Photo
Coach Stuart Baxter. File Photo
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Stuart Baxter says he will deal "in-house" with players who partied hard after Bafana Bafana's World Cup qualifying defeat by Cape Verde in Durban about two weeks ago.

Baxter on Wednesday announced the squad to play in the Russia 2018 qualifier against Burkina Faso on October 7. It includes Bongani Zungu, Andile Jali, Keagan Dolly and Tebogo Langerman, who were all named and shamed in news reports about their partying.

Bafana lost 2-1 to Cape Verde in Praia on September 1, and 2-1 in Durban.

But, according to the reports, after the poor results that crippled the team's efforts to reach the World Cup, a group of Bafana players partied late into the night.

"I'm guessing that every sporting code in this country has had these sort of problems," said Baxter.

"This will not be the only national team that has some players who overstep the mark.

"The English rugby team have done it, the All Blacks have had problems with it, Bafana have had problems.

"I know that every group of sportsmen that get together have got the possibility of overstepping the mark.

"That overstepping has probably been going on for about 60 or 70 years, and I've had just 10 sessions with this group.

"So, allow me a bit more time and I'll make sure that the players who represent this country don't think it's acceptable to overstep.

"Because I'm pretty sure that most people in this country over the past 50 years have looked with admiration at boys taking a drink, or boys being boys. But when we're professional athletes, and when we are professionals representing our country, we don't do that.

"So I'm as open as I can be. It will be dealt with in-house, and it will be dealt with quickly. And we will reiterate a very strict code of conduct."

The partying allegedly included women and booze, and continued late into the night, despite the Umhlanga Garden Court hotel security trying to bring it to a stop.

Baxter was at pains not to "hang my players out to dry".

"[But] certainly they will know about my displeasure because some of them had gone when we came down for breakfast," he said.

"When everybody gets into camp, anybody who was involved in this will know my thoughts on it."