Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter explained the reason behind excluding Ben Motshwari, Fortune Makaringe and Kermit Erasmus from his final 23-man squad for the African Cup of Nations later this month.
The South African national team will jet off to Dubai, where they will take on Ghana on Friday before their final practice game against Angola in Cairo ahead of their opening Afcon Group D clash against Ivory Coast on 24 June.
Baxter admits that it was difficult to select his final squad after the withdrawal of Rivaldo Coetzee and Keagan Dolly due to injuries, but he felt that he chose a well-balanced squad to represent South Africa at the Afcon.
‘As you can imagine, this has not been an easy process and it is certainly not made easier when we’ve had issues in the camp – the early injury to Keagan Dolly, and then Rivaldo [Coetzee] called in on the day of the assembly and told us his mother was gravely ill, but we haven’t heard from him since,’ Baxter told the media.
The Bafana mentor also omitted the likes of Fortune Makaringe, Ben Motshwari and Kermit Erasmus from those who had been in camp throughout the week and training at Steyn City School in Fourways, although he sees them as a ‘massive boost’ for the future of the national team.
‘I told them that they should look at their selection in the initial squad as a massive boost for their future. I just think that we have cover in those positions, and I have had to pick a couple of players that can maybe double up as centre backs – so that tilted the scales a little bit,’ he added.
‘We also have a lot of experienced midfielders. But it wasn’t easy to tell them they didn’t make it.”
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