Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter’s plan to take Orlando Pirates assistant mentor Rhulani Mokwena to Zambia as part of the national team’s technical staff has been scuppered.

Bafana will participate in a four-nations tournament in Ndola this week and Baxter wanted Mokwena to accompany the national team as an observer to gain experience.

But Mokwena will not be on the flight on Tuesday after Baxter revealed that a communications breakdown between the South African Football Association (Safa) and Pirates put paid to the idea. "As everybody knows this camp has been really compromised in terms of time for preparation‚" Baxter said.

"The warning time for us to know that we were taking part [in the tournament] was very short. We understand the situation at Pirates and we just want everybody to know that the intention was to bring a young coach to the camp and give him that experience.

‘‘That was a positive gesture and I think all parties will look to try to readdress that in the future. But at the moment Rhulani will not be joining us."

Baxter has never hidden the fact that he had hoped to travel to the King’s Cup in Thailand this week, where his charges would have met hosts Slovakia and United Arab Emirates, during Fifa’s international window.

The Briton said the trip to Zambia was arranged in a haphazard manner and this in turn led to a breach of protocols that saw him announce Mokwena as a member of his technical staff when the plan had not been finalised with Pirates.

‘‘I think I got confirmation myself of the camp about 10 days before we were due to leave‚" Baxter said. ‘‘In a normal world we would have given Pirates greater notice — they felt this was sprung on them.

‘‘It is understandable because they are in a pressure situation at the moment [Pirates are second on the PSL log and are challenging for the league title].

‘‘But we all agree that the concept is a good one and we want to do it‚ and Rhulani is a good candidate," the coach said.

Bafana play their first match against Angola on Thursday.

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