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No one wants break from squad - Baxter

By Marc Strydom | 2017-06-13 08:20:23.0

Stuart Baxter tried to release his senior players who did duty in Saturday's famous win against Nigeria for tonight's friendly against Zambia in Moruleng, but they did not want to leave.

Arriving back at OR Tambo International at 5am on Monday from their 2-0 Africa Cup of Nations victory in Uyo on Saturday, an exhausted Bafana boarded a bus for Rustenburg to begin preparing to meet Zambia at Moruleng Stadium (7pm tonight).

The friendly match in the off-season so soon after a tough qualifier against Nigeria, which involved almost 24 hours of travel to Uyo via Lagos, and 18 hours back, has resulted in grumbles from players.

Baxter had said he planned to release perhaps even all of his starting XI who earned SA a first-ever competitive victory against the Super Eagles, and potentially make late calls to some young players.

"We've looked at releasing players. No-one wants to leave the squad," the coach said.

"We may call an extra one player because we do have a few injuries. Keagan Dolly obviously can't play. Tower [Mulomowandau Mathoho] is a bit doubtful with his shoulder.

"I think Dean Furman needs a rest after coming back from the [DR] Congo (with SuperSport United last weekend) and then doing this trip as well.

"So we do have a few walking wounded, but they don't want to leave the squad. So that was good news."

Baxter is still likely to give most of his starting XI from Uyo a break. That means travelling squad members who did not get a run such as Darren Keet, Abbubaker Mobara, Lorenzo Gordinho, Sifiso Hlanti, Andile Jali, Lebogang Phiri and Thamsanqa Gabuza seem likely to start against Chipolopolo.

Baxter said the Zambia game is a chance for these players to stake a claim for a first team place. Almost certain to be rested along with Furman is Mamelodi Sundowns left-back Tebogo Langerman who also was involved in continental club football last weekend.

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