DURBAN - Bafana Bafana coach, Stuart Baxter, is set to meet with his bosses at Safa to find out if they are still on the same page, following his return to South Africa from holiday on Thursday.
A few months ago, rumours were rife that Baxter was on his way back to Kaizer Chiefs. It was later revealed that Safa and the Amakhosi couldn't agree on terms relating to his departure from the national association.
As a result, the club ended up appointing Italian Giovanni Solinas on a two year contract to fill the vacancy left by Steve Komphela. Baxter is still keen to steer the ship for Bafana Bafana, however.
“I’ve just landed in the country. I still have to meet Safa to find out if we are still on the same page,” Baxter said. Asked if he is happy, Baxter confirmed in the positive. “Yes, my job is clear. I want to help Bafana to qualify for Afcon.”
Bafana are in the driving seat after one match into the Afcon qualifiers. They defeated Nigeria 2-0 away from home and still have to play Libya and the Seychelles. The Afcon will be held in Cameroon in January. Bafana will resume their qualifiers against Libya at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium in September.
“We have difficult matches coming up. Libya are difficult opponents. They drew against top class north African countries during the World Cup qualifiers. We have a history of falling against teams that we should put to bed. We need to work on that. Our problem is not technical but it is rather a mental one. We hammered Burkina Faso and went away to Nigeria and came back with a victory. We then lost to Cape Verde. We need to be mentally stable," he added.
Baxter failed to propel Bafana to the World Cup in Russia. He is under immense pressure to book a ticket for Cameroon after the men's senior national team failed to qualify for the last two major tournaments - Gabon last year and the recently concluded World Cup. Baxter is under contract with Safa until 2022.
“We need to realise that there are no minors in world football. Iceland is no longer a minor. We need to stop under-estimating other countries,” Baxter explained as he warned Bafana players on complacency against so-called small football nations.