JOHANNESBURG – Coach Stuart Baxter has labelled Andre Arendse's withdrawal from South Africa's squad for the September 8 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya as a "sad loss". Arendse, Bafana's goalkeeper coach and former goalkeeper, pulled out of camp due to family commitments.
"It really is a sad loss to not to have the services of Andre, whom I have worked with for a long time," said Baxter. "It is even more difficult not to have him at such a crucial time when we are resuming our Afcon qualifying campaign, but I have to understand his situation.
"We are going into camp on Sunday, which means we don't have time, so I have the whole of Friday to get a replacement, and it must be someone who I believe will do the job for our last line of defence," he added. "And as soon as I have a name, we will make an announcement."
Baxter's son, Lee, is currently the goalkeeper coach at Kaizer Chiefs and was at one point linked with the Bafana post. Lee played for Blackburn Rovers, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Glasgow Rangers, AIK Solna, Malmö FF and IFK Gothenburg. Since becoming a coach, he has worked at AIK Solna, Gençlerbirliği, SuperSport United and AGF Aarhus.
With so little time left to find a replacement for Arendse, the younger Baxter could be a candidate to take charge during Arendse's absence. However, Chiefs (the club Baxter senior lead to several titles) face SuperSport United in a key MTN8 semi-final on Saturday.