Hands off our Baxter!

STUART BAXTER (SuperSport United). Gallo images
STUART BAXTER (SuperSport United). Gallo images

SuperSport United boss Khulu Sibiya walks up to Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt and asks him why is he not taking up the Bafana Bafana job.

This played out at the Sandton Convention Centre at the weekend during the celebration to mark the PSL's 10-year partnership with pay-channel SuperSport.

Sibiya said afterwards that he was joking with Hunt, but in reality Sibiya could be wishing for that to happen. Firstly, if Hunt joins Bafana then SuperSport United will be guaranteed to keep their head coach Stuart Baxter.

Secondly, SuperSport United are first on the Absa Premiership table and are followed by Wits in second place halfway into the season.

Sibiya said he's heard rumours that Safa were interested in having Baxter as the next Bafana coach. Sibiya, though, is adamant that Baxter is staying with the Tshwane side.

"I am not releasing Baxter and I want to retain him. I'm very ambitious about winning the league," said the United chairman. "Unlike what Patrice [Motsepe] is saying about Pitso [Mosimane] that he's willing to release him [to Bafana], I'm not willing to release Stuart," he said.

Baxter, who has been with the club for a year after joining on a two-and-a-half-year deal, has already brought in silverware after winning last year's Nedbank Cup in only his fourth month in charge.

Sibiya said he would do everything in his power to ensure that Baxter stays put at the club.

"Personally, I think Stuart has done a very good job with SuperSport . I mean, it is amazing how professional that guy is. You never know until someone is close to you.

"I had Cavin Johnson and he came with good results [from Platinum Stars] and then it was Gordon Igesund, but Stuart has made a big difference and the players love him. I think the players play for Stuart and the players we thought were deadwood have come alive," said Sibiya.

Sibiya, though, warned that "football is unpredictable". "You sleep tonight and wake up in the morning then something is different. But quite frankly, I would like to keep Baxter," he added.

Baxter couldn't be reached for comment.

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