In with the old, out with the

Stuart Baxter , Bafana Bafana coach, coaches his team to a 2-0 win over Ghana.

In with the old, out with the new: Bafana Bafana appoint a new coach, and it’s déjà vu all over again…

Stuart Baxter is back in charge of the national team 12 years after being fired by the SAFA. Can this Braveheart free South Africa from football mediocrity?

In with the old, out with the

Stuart Baxter , Bafana Bafana coach, coaches his team to a 2-0 win over Ghana.

The Scottish coach certainly seems like a ‘safe’ choice by SAFA, with this appointment being a bit like putting a new brown carpet in your lounge: It’s functional, and I’m sure does its job adequately… But it doesn’t fill anyone with much excitement.

He returns to the job with a deeper knowledge of South African football, and as a winner. He guided Supersport United to an unlikely cup win last year, but his finest hours have been with the Amakhosi; he guided Kaizer Chiefs to two PSL crowns between 2012 to 2015.

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However, there are also plenty of questions to be asked of him; longevity has never been his ally. In a 32-year career, he has never stayed at one club for more than three years. His nomadic past doesn’t exactly bode too well for South Africa’s future. Questions have also been raised about his youth development policy, given that he prefers wise, old heads over all else.

A large number of fans still feel that he had fluffed his lines with a ‘golden generation’ at his disposal in 2004/05. Failure to reach the World Cup with the likes of Benni McCarthy, Steven Pienaar, and Quinton Fortune in the side is still a supporters’ source of pain more than a decade later, with Baxter bearing the brunt of their anger.

Even the circumstances of this appointment seem a little half-hearted. TimesLive reports that McCarthy, now a SAFA committee member, admitted this week (before Baxter was confirmed) he had no idea why good candidates had not yet been selected.

“There were good candidates and I was expecting that by now there would be a coach. But clearly, there is a hold up somewhere which I don’t have any knowledge of what is the reason behind it. It’s unfortunate that everything has come to a standstill and I don’t know what is going on,” McCarthy said.

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Doesn’t seem like he was their first choice, does it? Managerless for five months, the SAFA hierarchy have had plenty of time to court Baxter if they were so desperate to have him.

The jury is still out on this one. The only way you can judge a manager is by their results. Baxter’s first match in charge will be at the end of August, in a World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde.

He’s been around long enough to know that the earlier he can win games, the earlier he can win over his doubters.