Why Baxter sent text messages to some of the players he's not selected to Bafana

Coach Stuart Baxter of Bafana Bafana and his players during the South African national men's soccer team training session at FNB Stadium on June 05, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Coach Stuart Baxter of Bafana Bafana and his players during the South African national men's soccer team training session at FNB Stadium on June 05, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The door is not closed on any of the older players who were not included in Stuart Baxter’s youth-orientated squad for this month’s four-nations tournament in Zambia‚ the Bafana Bafana coach has said.

Baxter‚ as injuries hit Bafana and their eventually failed 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign became tougher last year‚ picked a number of veterans‚ including Morgan Gould‚ Clayton Daniels and even Siphiwe Tshabalala.

The coach has said going forward‚ as Bafana begin 2018 in a friendly competition involving Zambia‚ Angola and Zimbabwe next week‚ his emphasis will be on youth and restructuring.

However‚ he said those players who were not part of this squad should not consider themselves discarded.

“I’ve sent texts to most of the players who are not in‚ reassuring them that the door is not closed for any of them‚” Baxter said.

“We have the experienced players who we have on this camp. Those experienced players may change (in future).

“What I don’t want to do is close the door for the youngsters. I want us to be brave enough to allow that door to stay open.

“Players like Morgan‚ Clayton‚ Ronwen‚ Riyaad‚ I know them very well. So they know that their credentials don’t go down the toilet in this one‚ because they know that I know them quite well.

“Hlompho Kekana and players like that‚ I know them very well. So I hope they don’t feel that‚ ‘Ja well I’m not in the coach’s thoughts. I’m the one he think is going to make way for the kids’.

“On this camp it is. But on the next camp it may not be.

“Take Dino Ndlovu‚ who’s a more experienced player who’s just moved to China. Maybe I’m thinking‚ well‚ let’s try the kids instead.

“In the goalkeepers‚ Ronwen has just come back from a shoulder injury – let me have a look at the kids instead.

“I’ve tried to make it a bit logical who we should omit. Andile Jali is injured. Therefore don’t pressure Andile to come and play when I want to take this opportunity to take a look at the young ones.

“Does it mean that any of those players are thrown on the heap? No it doesn’t.

“But I don’t want to return to the place where we’re taking those players‚ and then we omit the kid‚ to be on the safe side.”

Bafana begin the four-nations competition against Angola in Ndola on Thursday March 22.

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