Baxter scrambling for technical staff as Senong rules himself out

Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter will be left scrambling for technical staff when he prepares to face Libya in their crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier next month.

FILE: Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter (right) puts his players through their paces during a training session on 15 November 2018. Picture: @BafanaBafana/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter will be left scrambling for technical staff when he prepares to face Libya in their crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier next month.

Baxter has struggled to hold down a permanent support staff during his second stint at the helm of Bafana, largely due to Safa’s financial woes in recent times. Baxter has relied on Molefe Ntseki and former Bafana striker Shaun Bartlett for assistance in the recent qualifiers against the Seychelles and Nigeria, but Bartlett has since taken up a full-time role in Ernst Middendorp’s technical team at Kaizer Chiefs and is unlikely to be released to help out the national side.

One man that has also been roped in to assist in the past has been South Africa under-20 head coach Thabo Senong. He has recently guided his side to a second successive appearance at the Fifa under-20 World Cup in Poland later this year but will not be able to join Baxter’s technical team in March ahead of the Libya clash.

Senong has a jam-packed month where he will be travelling around monitoring his players who are plying their trade in European leagues.

“For me, my priority is the under-20s and my absence from the under-20s will be the death of the under-20s. March is a very busy month for me. I have to go to the World Cup draw, I have to find a camp base for the team in Europe while also going to the different clubs in Europe to monitor the players there, so it is only fair that I focus 100% on the under 20s”

South Africa require just a point from the match against Libya to secure their place in Egypt in June, but it will be a tricky encounter away and defeat in the match could see the Libyans leapfrog Bafana into second spot and qualify alongside Nigeria for African football’s showpiece.