SuperSport CEO: Baxter’s goal for Bafana is the World Cup

On Thursday, Stuart Baxter was announced as the Bafana Bafana head coach after months of confusion.

FILE: Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - SuperSport United CEO Stanley Matthews has told EWN Sport the club could not stand in Stuart Baxter’s goal of taking part in a World Cup.

On Thursday, Baxter was announced as the Bafana Bafana head coach after months of confusion, 131 days since Shakes Mashaba was sacked all the way back in December.

Baxter will, however, complete the season with SuperSport where they still have league and cup commitments, his first assignment for the national team will be on June the 5th against Nigeria.

Matthews says Safa’s financial offer to Baxter was a good one and would have been hard to say no.

“We also understand he is in his 60s and he’s probably not going to have another opportunity to go to a World Cup and he wants to try and make that happen from a football perspective. One can only respect his football goals and from a financial perspective as well, he had quite a sumptuous offer in front him.”

Matthews added that Baxter was honest about his objectives and goals he would still like to achieve.

“When I sat with him personally and he spelt out for me his football goals and that he's never been to a World Cup. To help us (South Africa) qualify for a World Cup is a big goal for him.”

It is clear that Baxter had left his mark at SuperSport and Matthews was appreciative of the coach’s influence in a short time with the club.

“He brought a fantastic culture, a steely winning culture back to the club that we haven’t had in a while. He’s made a big impact, won us a trophy, got us to another cup final and on the verge of a third cup final in a space of 18 months. There’ll be Stuart Baxter chapter in the legacy of SuperSport United.”

While Matthews would not blame Safa for the drawn out process of Baxter’s appointment, he admitted the speculation did have a significant on their plans for the future.

“In the time that the national team opened up talks with Stuart, we played six league matches and only won one after an unbeaten run of 19 games. We are sorry a little bit that we got caught in the crossfire and that it had a negative impact but at the same time if I look back I am proud of the season.”

He added it also it affected their long-term planning for the upcoming season.

“I have to sign pre-contracts with players and central to that is the coach. So to not know for six weeks whether Stuart was or wasn’t going to be my coach next season was a severe hampering on my planning for next year. I have already lost out on one or two free agents.”