JOHANNESBURG – Stuart Baxter has revealed for the first time that he paid SuperSport United compensation out of his own pocket to allow him to take the vacant Bafana Bafana job in May last year.
Baxter was talked out of his club contract to replace Shakes Mashaba, who had been fired months earlier for gross misconduct.
“If anybody doesn’t know, I paid out of my salary to SuperSport to leave because I was so passionate about wanting the job,” said Baxter on Tuesday.
“I allowed Safa (his would-be employers) to take money out of my salary and give it to SuperSport because I believed in the project. But this is just a by-the-by.”
The coach was reacting to repeated reports that he earns a R1 million monthly salary, but has failed to take South Africa to the World Cup in Russia this year, finishing bottom of a group that included leaders Senegal, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde.
“I have tried to be as open as I can with the media. So I know when I read a piece in the Sunday Times that says ‘Stuart Baxter earns R12 million a year, but he doesn’t do a lot for his work’, I know that is trying to get people in Soweto and Alexandra to look and think this is to enrich a coach that doesn’t do s**t-all to work, and that will turn them all quickly.
“I understand how the media works. Who is that (story) aimed at? By the way, those supposed facts are not true,” Baxter said, adding, “I earn just about a kick in the a*** of what I earned at club level.”
Meanwhile, the coach confirmed that he has convinced Joel Untersee – the Juventus defender who is on loan at Empoli in the Italian Serie B – to commit to Bafana instead of Switzerland, where he has earned junior national team caps since 2009.
Untersee, who was born in Johannesburg and has Swiss descendents, is likely to be called up later this month for the four-nation tournament where South Africa will play hosts Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola during the Fifa international break.