JOHANNESBURG – Bafana Bafana will need to start introducing new faces in their squad, especially in their friendly matches, if they are to widen their pool of selection for the senior national team.
This is the view of head coach, Stuart Baxter. Such an observation came about right after Baxter watched how nations such as Chile and Germany, who are currently participating in this year’s Fifa Confederations Cup tournament, introduced fresh faces in their respective squads.
“What I found very interesting is how the coaches in the Confederations Cup use the tournament to introduce some new and younger players in their respective squads,” the 63-year-old Scotsman said following SuperSport United’s 0-0 draw against TP Mazembe.
“Like in that German squad, there were about four or five players that I’ve never heard of before. And if we were to talk about our development program as a national team, we should stop playing our best team against national sides who are experimenting with new combinations in their respective squads.
"That’s why we end up winning those friendly matches but struggle in key matches or tournaments. We need to start using our friendly matches to deepen the pool of our selection so that when it comes to a game like Burkina Faso (a 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier), we’ve got five or six extra players.
“Brazil have done the same, Argentina have done the same, Chile had Alex Sanchez on the bench. It’s an interesting development path that I truly believe we should look at, really.”
Following this weekend’s Nedbank Cup final against Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium in his last game as Matsatsantsa’s head coach, Baxter will also hope to inspire his Bafana side to defend their Cosafa Cup title out in Rustenburg early next month. Bafana will either lock horns with Malawi, Tanzania, Mauritius or Angola in their quarter-final fixture next week Sunday out in Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
This is where the Bafana coach is most likely to play around with new combinations and give young and hungry players, such as Teboho Mokoena, Motjeka Madisha, Aubrey Modiba and Percy Tau, who scored the second goal in that 2-0 victory over Nigeria in a 2019 Afcon qualifier, a shot at being regulars when it comes to future Bafana call-ups.