Baxter says his assistant may be an ex-Bafana player – mentions Bartlett‚ Fortune and Mokoena

Stuart Baxter is has hinted that his assistant coach may be an ex-Bafana Bafana player‚ and mentioned the names of Shaun Bartlett and Quinton Fortune as examples.

Baxter is likely to add a second assistant to his current deputy Thabo Senong as he looks to bolster the technical staff he took to Nigeria for a 2-0 win in Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier‚ and Tuesday’s 2-1 friendly defeat against Zambia in Moruleng.

The new Bafana coach had limited time to prepare for the big qualifier against Nigeria‚ travelling with a largely inherited technical team.

He dispensed with previous assistant under predecessor Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba Owen Da Gama‚ and goalkeeper-coach Lucky Shiburi.

Asked if he will have arrived in a permanent technical staff by the time of Bafana competing in the Cosafa Cup in early July‚ Baxter replied: “I hope so.”

He continued: “The technical team that we’ve had with us now (for Nigeria and Zambia) has been great. We just need to make sure that it can be permanent and that is fits in with what else we’re doing.

“I still think there is room for an ex-player who’s embarked on his career as a coach – like a Shaun Bartlett‚ like Benni McCarthy‚ like a Quinton Fortune‚ Aaron Mokoena.

“Get those people involved at some level within the technical team. I’m not saying that they’ve all got to be assistants but get them involved.

“Those people should be involved for the future of the game. And again‚ for the young coaches getting into it.”

Bartlett‚ who coached Lamontville Golden Arrows to promotion from the National First Division to the Premier Soccer League in 2014-15‚ assisted Da Gama with the SA Under-23 team that reached the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The former Charlton Athletic and Kaizer Chiefs striker – Bafana’s second-top scorer with 29 goals – also coached Arrows and University of Pretoria FC in the PSL. Both got relegated under Bartlett‚ though he arrived late in seasons where he was asked to perform rescue operations.

Former Manchester United midfielder Fortune has completed a number of coaching badges but has limited hands-on experience so far‚ assisting former team-mate Ole Gunnar-Solskjaer with Cardiff City’s U-21s.

Former Blackburn Rovers centreback Mokoena‚ Bafana’s captain as hosts of the 2010 World Cup‚ has similarly had little coaching experience since his retirement at Bidvest Wits in 2013.

Bafana all-time top scorer McCarthy was this week appointed coach of the past season’s third-placed finishers Cape Town City in his first break as a head coach.

- TMG Digital/TMG Sport