Stuart Baxter. Pictures: GALLO IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU
Stuart Baxter. Pictures: GALLO IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says he is willing to lose his job for saying it‚ but South African football needs to weed its garden and requires an effective overhaul to escape a Groundhog Day of failure.

Baxter promised an emphasis on youth this week in Bafana selections for 2018‚ but said football should get its house in order or any national coach is destined to fail.

"I believe that in the games coming up‚ we’ve got to … try and tidy up the garden‚" he said in outlining his vision for 2018.

"When I say garden‚ I use that because there are plenty of weeds. And I don’t mean just on the football field. I mean at Safa House‚ … with our relationship with the media‚ …the clubs [and] … the players," Baxter said.

"If you take a poll of the players who have played for Bafana over the past 10 years‚ our marks out of 10 are not going to be too good.

"It’ll be that their [plane] tickets are not on time‚ and ‘they [Bafana and Safa] don’t call my club’‚ and they’ve got no contact with the [Bafana] coach‚ and that ‘he [the coach] never comes to see me play in France’.

"And if I say our marks out of 10 with you guys [the media]‚ we won’t have good marks.

"And with the clubs‚ the same thing. I was there. It’s‚ ‘Ah‚ Safa don’t do this and Safa don’t do that’. At Safa House we say: ‘They’re not patriotic and [clubs] don’t release their players’.

"And there’s this sort of antagonistic approach. Unless we can have some sort of co-operation… we will just be [seeing] a reflection of the hostilities.

"And on the playing level some of the more experienced players may be casualties. Because in some way we have got to get some of these young kids on the field.

"And I’ve told the FA [Safa]: ‘Look‚ I could stay or I could go’. They can fire me‚ or I could resign because I don’t think I’ve got the possibility to do a job.

"But whoever the coach is … if they don’t take this sort of step and say‚ ‘This is what we should do’‚ I don’t think we’ll have a future."

SA’s development structures‚ including those at clubs countrywide‚ had to improve too, Baxter said.

"I just believe that in this country it’s so difficult and complicated. Yet‚ if we could get it right‚ it could be so beautiful.

"But we’re not going to get it right if we keep on replicating [the past]. And I’ve looked back‚ and it doesn’t matter who was coach‚ but in some way it’s screwed itself up. It doesn’t matter if it was Pitso [Mosimane]‚ or [if it was] Gordon’s [Igesund] fault‚ or Shakes’s [Mashaba] fault or Carlos’s [Parreira] fault. Who’s fault was it? I think it’s the whole system and the way we’ve perceived our development‚ [that] is not working." 

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