Kermit Erasmus doesn’t deal with it too well if he’s a squad player‚ says Bafana coach Baxter
Kermit Erasmus’s perceived propensity to want to be a star player weighed against Stuart Baxter picking the in-form Cape Town City forward for Bafana Bafana’s huge Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya in Tunisia.
South Africa need a draw against Libya in Sfax on Sunday‚ March 24 to qualify for Egypt 2019 in June and July.
Libya need a win.
Bafana coach Baxter said he had certainly had Erasmus‚ who has scored three goals in three Absa Premiership games for City‚ in mind for his squad‚ but had opted in the end not to select the former Orlando Pirates and Rennes forward.
“To start with – the answer to‚ ‘Was he considered?’ Absolutely‚” Baxter said.
“I had a long conversation with his coach‚ Benni McCarthy. I’ve been in touch with Kermit for a while. I went down to Cape Town to watch him play against Swedish team Hacken [in a friendly on February 5].
“Because I wanted to see some of the Cape Town players against international opposition – how they would cope with that.
“And Kermit came in as a substitute and did exceptionally well for 20 minutes. So he showed that he does have that sort of international flavour to his game.
“So based on that – yes.
“Based on the fact that Kermit has not played a lot‚ until let’s say‚ about the last four or five weeks‚ is probably reason to back off slightly.
“I did say to Benni I thought he’d done a fantastic job with Kermit. And I think the reason he has is that Kermit plays best when he is loved and appreciated.
“I think Kermit has problems if he’s on the periphery. Because he feels like he’s an important player‚ and he is an important player.
"But maybe he doesn’t deal with it too well if he’s a squad player.
“Now he’s feeling as if he’s the man at City. And I didn’t think I could give him that scenario now with the national team.
“And I think‚ based on that‚ I don’t think we would have got the best out of Kermit.
“So at the moment that‚ plus a reduced squad‚ plus the players who I have chosen who I think will impact the game [weighed against Erasmus].
“He was definitely very much in our thoughts. But I decided that this wasn’t a great one for him.”
Bafana play Libya in neighbouring Tunisia due to a Fifa ban on matches in Libya due to the tense security situation in that country.
South Africa drew 0-0 against The Mediterranean Knights in Durban in the first-round fixture.
Nigeria have qualified from Group E with 10 points‚ South Africa have nine‚ Libya seven and Seychelles one.