Quinton Fortune in action for Manchester United in Rio de Janeiro in 2000. Photo: Reuters

JOHANNESBURG – Former Bafana Bafana star Quinton Fortune could potentially travel with the national team to Zambia on Thursday for their second leg of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier, with the prospect of joining head coach Stuart Baxter’s technical team. 

Baxter had hinted while in Nigeria two months ago ahead of Bafana’s opening 2019 Africa Cup of  Nations qualifier at home to the Super Eagles that he’d ask the South African Football Association (Safa) to give the role of a second assistant coach to an ex-player.

At the time he mentioned Benni McCarthy – who was not yet appointed Cape Town City mentor – Shaun Bartlett, former captain Aaron Mokoena and Fortune, the 40-year-old former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid midfielder.

Baxter will not travel to Zambia for the return leg on Saturday, but revealed in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that Fortune will accompany his other assistant coach Thabo Senong for the match at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.

“I have had very little time to concentrate on the absolutely vital assignment that is the Cape Verde (World Cup) qualifier. I am going to use some of the time to watch the PSL games over the weekend and prepare for the squad announcement on Monday,” Baxter explained.

Thabo Senong will take charge of Bafana for the Zambian game. Photo: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

“One of the staff that will be travelling to Zambia, albeit on a temporary basis, is Quinton Fortune. He arrived this morning (Wednesday) and will follow the training session at FNB Stadium.

“We are still to decide if he will go with Thabo to be some kind of an assistant or a spectator – just to see how we do things.

“When the squad gets back, there will be a conversation between him and the association to see if we found common ground, and also to see if there is any room to bring him on a permanent basis.

“What is happening now is just a matter of the two parties having to look at the situation.”

Quinton Fortune is still an ambassador for Manchester United. Photo: Barry Aldworth, BackpagePix

Baxter was appointed Bafana coach in May, replacing axed Shakes Mashaba, but has been without a permanent technical team since deciding not to retain the services of Owen da Gama and goalkeeper coach Lucky Shiburi, who were part of Mashaba’s back-room staff.

The only exception was Senong, with Baxter adamant that the young tactician can continue to grow under his watch.

Bafana face Cape Verde on September 1 away, and host them four days later at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Baxter was expected to announce his travelling squad on Wednesday afternoon, but the press conference was postponed to Monday.

IOL Sport