Stuart Baxter. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Stuart Baxter. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Former Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter was looking to resume his coaching career in China after a hiatus of about nine months, but the coronavirus outbreak scuppered that plan.

“I had an offer to work in China and the talks really went a long way but I put the brakes on when the virus outbreak happened‚” he said from Sweden‚ where he has been based since leaving SA after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.

“They were also a little late with the paperwork, and then this whole virus thing kicked off.

“I wasn’t too keen [after the outbreak]; I didn’t fancy going there, and then they seemed to put the brakes on too.

“It’s all a little on the back burner now but it’s not up in smoke.”

Baxter‚ 66‚ said he had also received lot of interest for his services from Egypt after leaving the Bafana job, no surprise given that SA eliminated the hosts in the round of 16 at the finals in July 2019.

“But I wanted to have a break and also reflect on what had happened [with SA].

Helping coaches

“You cannot do that if you jump straight back into a job.”

Baxter has been relaxing at his Scandinavian home‚ helping the local coaches’ association with analysis‚ seminars and practical training sessions.

He has also kept his eye on this season’s premiership.

“I can stream some matches here‚” he said.

And he is in touch with son Lee‚ the goalkeeper coach at Kaizer Chiefs‚ who last won a trophy when Baxter was still in charge.

For the next weeks‚ he will be cloistered at home like much of the rest of the world.

“I have to applaud all the football authorities‚ including those in SA‚ for putting people and not finances at the heart of their decisions.

“I think it’s right that these stringent decisions have been made.

“They are all decisions that have been made in the cold light of day with good judgment‚” he added.

“It might be even stricter restrictions have to be brought in. You don’t want this virus to spread like wildfire like it is doing here in Europe.”

As for the future of the game‚ Baxter feels football will not be the same again when the world emerges at the other end of the pandemic.

“I think there will be a massive adjustment‚ probably for the better.

“The salaries will have to come down‚ [there will be] reduced TV income‚ less sponsorship and people wanting more affordable tickets.

“We are going to get a massive adjustment and it will benefit mainly the spectators‚ which is not a bad thing at all‚” he said.

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