South Africa Coach reacts to 2019 AFCON host talks
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has given his reaction to the reports that CAF has asked the South African Football Association to consider hosting the 2019 AFCON tournament.
SAFA was asked by CAF to step in as emergency hosts after the continental federation stripped off Cameroon the 2019 AFCON hosting rights due to their behind schedule preparations.
With South Africa yet to seal its qualification berth, Bafana’s coach has responded to the possibility of earning the automatic qualification place that gets handed to host nations.
“You don’t want to sort of turn off the competitive nature of the Libya game because someone suddenly gives you a free pass‚,” Baxter told Times Live.
“So for me‚ I would say it [hosting] would be great because our strategy was that the players need to take part in a major tournament as a part of their development.”
“But I also don’t want to turn off the competitive nature of the players to go there [to play Libya away‚ probably in Tunisia] in a situation with a knife at their throats and actually get the result that they need.”
“So‚ if I’m being really honest‚ I’ve tried to ignore it [the potential hosting]. For the reason that I want to keep preparing for this game as if it’s the one that’s going to take us there.”
“And therefore the Libya game was yet another challenge mentally. And that’s why it was important for us‚” he said.
“We have seen some progress and some green shoots coming through‚” Baxter concluded.
South Africa face Libya on 22 March 2019.