DURBAN- South African Football Association chief executive, Dennis Mumble, has played down rumours linking Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter with Kaizer Chiefs. Baxter is rumoured to be reuniting with the Soweto giants following the resignation of Steve Komphela three months ago.
The Bafana Bafana coach endured a terrific three-year stay at Amakhosi before joining Bafana for a second time, winning two Premier Soccer League titles, the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup. On the other hand, Komphela went through a barren three-year run before the club’s fans resorted to the hooliganism that left Moses Mabhida Stadium damaged during their 2-0 loss to Free State Stars in the Nedbank Cup semi-final.
Amakhosi are rumoured to have rekindled interest in Baxter as they are looking to challenge for top honours next season. But Mumble says that as the federation, they are not moved by the rumours as they have not received any offers for the coach.
“It’s not something that affects us,” said Mumble, who was speaking at the SAB League Under-21 National Championships launch in Durban on Monday. “There’s nothing on the table. The discussion is not even on the table (from potential suitors), so we are not going to address it. Whoever it is that started that will have to go out and explain to the public as to why they started it.”
He continued: “We don’t know about rumours linking him to local clubs. We’ve signed the coach for five years. So, he’s got a contract that with us until 2022, after the Fifa World Cup. We’ve always signed coaches for the long haul… as far as I am concerned, Stuart Baxter remains our coach.”
The British coach is in his second stint with the men’s senior national team after a brief spell from 2004-2005. His return to Bafana Bafana last year is yet to yield any progress, especially after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup that is currently being staged in Russia.
This comes after shocking back-to-back defeats to Cape Verde Islands, a nation that has a population of only 532 913. This was a disappointing outing, especially after Bafan's 2-0 away win against Nigeria last year in June in Baxter's first game back in charge in a 2019 Afcon qualifier.
The 64-year-old’s new mandate is to ensure that they make it to the 2019 Africa Nations Cup of Nations and 2022 World Cup. What makes this matter more interesting is how Baxter is not shy to walk away from a club when he’s received better suitors – three seasons being the longest period he’s served at a team.
Despite this, Mumble has ensured that they are still in a happy marriage with the former South Melbourne midfielder. “I think we are fine with the coach,” Mumble insisted. “The coach is on leave right now. So, I don’t see anything that would make people think it’s not a happy affair.”@Mihlalibaleka