Safa stands by Baxter after backlash over decision to appoint his son to Bafana

03 September 2018 - 17:03
By Mahlatse Mphahlele And Marc Strydom
Stuart Baxter coach of South Africa during the South Africa AFCON Qualifier Team Announcement on the 28 August 2018 at SAFA House.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix Stuart Baxter coach of South Africa during the South Africa AFCON Qualifier Team Announcement on the 28 August 2018 at SAFA House.

Stuart Baxter may have faced a backlash after the decision to rope in his son Lee to the national side's technical team on Monday but the Bafana Bafana coach's South African Football Association (Safa) employers are standing behind him.

Lee Baxter – goalkeeper-coach of Kaizer Chiefs‚ where he instructs Bafana’s No.1‚ Itumeleng Khune – has come into the squad for the Group E qualifier against Libya at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday as a replacement for Andre Arendse.

South Africans reacted with anger when the news broke on Monday but Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said they could not impose a technical team appointment on Baxter.

“We don’t interfere with the technical team because the head coach has a right to chose whoever he wants to work with‚" Chimhavi said.

"When you give a coach a mandate‚ you must allow him to chose the people he wants to work with so that his work could be easier.”

Baxter was seemingly unperturbed as he faced the media in Durban on Monday.

"The only thing that we were concerned about was if Chiefs‚ given their situation [with goalkeeping injuries‚ and struggling in form] would release him.

"They've been good enough to do that‚" he said on Monday after his decision.

"So if anybody sees it as anything else than the best and most viable decision that we could make‚ I'd be massively surprised.

"It's not as if I've run out and roped my son in the second he's landed in this country. He's been working with Chiefs and with SuperSport.

"And people maybe always will have opinions. And they don't always have to be well-founded. Never let the truth get in the way of a good moan.

"I don't expect it to be a decision that is attacked by the people who understand football.

"But does that mean it won't be attacked by certain people - well‚ it may do.

"But I'll be massively disappointed and surprised if people don't see it for what it actually is. It's the best decision in a very difficult situation."

Arendse‚ Bafana's goalkeeper coach‚ pulled out of the camp a few days ago due to family commitments.