Coach Stuart Baxter during practice at the FNB Stadium. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi
Coach Stuart Baxter during practice at the FNB Stadium. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi

Stuart Baxter will no longer coach the national team for the African Nations Championship (Chan)‚ handing over that task to his assistant, Thabo Senong.

The South African Football Association (Safa) decided that Baxter cannot afford the time for the two-leg tie against Zambia in August to qualify for the January 2018 finals in Kenya.

SA will host the first leg of the final round qualifier on August 12 and play the return match in Zambia a week later.

The dates conflict with the kick-off of the new Premier Soccer League season and Safa will have to again beg for players to put together a team.

"We will probably look again at the under-20 side to provide the backbone of this selection and that is why it is better that Thabo take charge‚" explained Safa president Danny Jordaan.

Senong coached the South African side at May’s U-20 World Cup in South Korea and was assistant over the past two weekends as Baxter led a makeshift national team to a 3-0 aggregate victory over Botswana in the first round of Chan 2018 qualifying.

Zambia walloped Swaziland 7-0 on aggregate.

Baxter will prepare for the two World Cup qualifiers against the Cape Verde Islands to be played in early September.

The team will travel to Praia on September 1 and the follow-up is in Durban on September 5. Safa has set a target of a full six points to ensure SA stays in pole position for a place at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

SA have four points from the opening two matches in the qualifying group.

TimesLIVE

Please sign in or register to comment.