Mashaba: Baxter must stay regardless of WC qualifying results

Stuart Baxter is facing the biggest match of his current tenure when South Africa host Senegal in Polokwane on Friday night.

FILE: Former Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba. Picture: Morena Mothupi/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Shakes Mashaba has told EWNSport, he hopes that the South African Football Association (Safa) will retain the services of Stuart Baxter if South Africa fail to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Baxter is facing the biggest match of his current tenure when South Africa host Senegal in Polokwane on Friday night. Anything but a win will end Bafana's qualifying campaign.

Mashaba was removed from his post as head coach after a pitch side rant that saw him embroiled with Safa in a lengthy legal battle.

He says that he wants to see Baxter stay.

“Unfortunately, it has become a trend in our football. It's not only Stuart, coaches have lost their jobs for not winning this game or qualifying. I hope that won't happen. Even if he doesn't qualify, I think they'll give him another chance to see what he can do.”

The former coach says Bafana need to learn from the past: “We have qualified before, we won Afcon, but what we missed out on, was to professionalise those things.

“Now we have gone down. Win this qualification and maybe it will bring back the previous achievements we've managed.”

Mashaba has described Thulani Serero as a player that must feature for his country, saying he hopes that the player and Safa can work out their differences.

“I was disappointed. The demands he's making that he needs guarantees that he's going to play. It's going to put the coach under pressure. He has a plan and looks at all the players he has.

“I hope Thulani will change his mind in the future because this isn't the first time he has done this.”

The match kicks off at 19:00.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)