CAPE TOWN – Stuart Baxter says he would be “massively disappointed and surprised” if there is an outcry about appointing his son Lee as a stand-in Bafana Bafana goalkeeper coach.
Lee Baxter has been called up in place of Andre Arendse – who is unavailable due to family commitments – for Saturday’s 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya in Durban.
Lee is currently the goalkeeper mentor at Kaizer Chiefs, and works with Bafana star Itumeleng Khune at the Amakhosi, which is one of the reasons why Stuart Baxter thought it was a good idea to bring his son on board at the national team.
“I would be massively, massively, both disappointed and surprised if there is any reaction whatsoever. Andre pulls out at the very last minute.
“Lee is the most qualified goalkeeper coach in this country, bar none. Lee has worked with me in Turkey and at SuperSport, with the technical team of Josh Smith,” Baxter said at a press conference in Durban on Monday.
“He is the current coach of Itu, and has worked with Ronza (Ronwen Williams), and he knows probably half the squad.
“We don’t have time (to) wandering around the country, interviewing people and bringing people in because there is no one – really – else that I have worked with.
“So, for the good of the country and for the good of this squad, then I don’t think that… The only thing that we were concerned about is if Chiefs – given their situation – would release him.
“Now they’ve been good enough to do that. So, if anybody sees it as anything else, than the best and most viable decision that we could make, then I would be massively surprised.”
Lee Baxter has worked as a goalkeeper coach in his native Sweden, as well as alongside his father at Turkish side Genclerbirligi and SuperSport United in South Africa.
The 42-year-old played as a shot-stopper for clubs in Sweden, Scotland, England and Denmark, and joined Kaizer Chiefs in February this year.
What an Honour and a privilege it is to get called up for the National team as Goalkeeper Coach. A proud moment in my career. Always a massive thanks to all the people who support me in my job as I know it’s not always easy and the sacrifices are many.But they never go unseen! A BIG thanks to my club @kcfcofficial for believing in me and backing me! #bafanabafana #teamnorest
A post shared by Lee Baxter (@leebaxter76) on
“It’s not as if I’ve run out and roped my son in the second he’s landed in this country. He’s been working for Kaizer Chiefs, and he was working with SuperSport (in the past). So, it’s not as if I’m roping him in, just as an excuse to have someone I know sitting beside me on the bench,” Stuart Baxter, 65, said.
“People will always have opinions, and those opinions don’t have to be well-founded – they’ve got that ‘Never let the truth get in the way of a good moan’.
“I don’t expect it to be a decision that is attacked by the people who understand football. But does that mean that it won’t be attacked by certain people? Well, it may do.
“But then again, Klopp’s under pressure, and I’ll come under pressure, and my wife may come under pressure as well, because people have an opinion.
“But I will be massively disappointed and surprised if people don’t see it actually for what it is. It is the best decision in a very difficult situation.”@ashfakmohamed