The long-awaited announcement came last week, as quietly as we have ever seen.
Safa loves a press conference. So imagine my surprise when they said they’d announce a new coach in 24 or 48 hours and we all waited for an invite to that announcement.
We got mail from Safa alright, but it was a short statement announcing the coach.
Stuart Baxter, as expected, was named the new Bafana Bafana coach.
Well the old new coach. Or is it new old?
We need to start inventing our own terms because this re-hiring of coaches is so South African.
Even the first choice for Shakes Mashaba’s replacement was a former coach.
I’ll be honest and say Safa made a mess of things. They kept us informed all the way along the over 130-day search for a new coach, releasing lists and shortlists and setting deadlines they weren’t able to meet.
That makes me wonder if they people running this country’s football really know what they are doing.
It sounds harsh but they have shown us with the way they handled the coaching issue.
For Baxter it is a win-win situation.
He returns to the job he left in 2005 after failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.
The Brit gets to prove his worth by having a second crack at the job.
His stats with Bafana weren’t too bad last time out but now I believe he will do better.
This time around Baxter will know the players of this country inside out as he has worked with the best of the best or against them week in and week out.
You could even hear in his post-match interview following SuperSport United’s 3-2 win over Polokwane City he spoke of Man of the Match Teboho Mokoena and how he’s a talented young asset for South African football.
He’s already thinking of the job ahead.
I even think the reason they didn’t have a press conference was perhaps because he suggested it out of respect for his team.
It’s a massive loss for Matsatsantsa because they were just starting to build something special.
But their loss will be SA’s gain because Baxter comes in knowing our football, unlike the last time. That’s the advantage he held over other candidates.
He has won the PSL twice and perhaps could have done so again this season were it not for the distraction of the national job.
He has been plotting week in and out how to stop some of the leading stars in the league so that surely means he will know how to play to those very stars’ strengths when it comes to the national team.