Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter has applauded the clubs that managed to release players to the national team for the upcoming 2017 COSAFA CUP.

With the tournament falling outside the FIFA Calendar date, it was always going to be difficult to get players for the competition, but most clubs have acceded to the call by availing players to represent their country.

Baxter has called up 20 players for the tournament, with goalkeeper Boalefa Pule and defender Mario Booysen (both Supersport United), the last players to arrive in camp on Monday, 26 June.

“It is a fact that this tournament does not fall under the FIFA Calendar date, so it was always going to be a struggle to put together a team, but we have say a big thank you to all the clubs who were able to assist us in putting together this group of players. The cooperation we got from the clubs was very positive and inspiring and we really appreciate thatl,” said Baxter.

The Bafana Bafana mentor has arrived in the national team camp following his heroics with Supersport United where he was able to defend the Nedbank Cup after defeating Orlando Pirates 4-1 in the final on Saturday (24 June 2017) in Durban.

The victory marked Baxter’s end of reign at the club and will now be with Bafana Bafana without moving back and forth between the two assignments.

“It’s a good thing that I am now able to focus all my attention on the national team and don’t have to keep on swopping hats and uniforms to service this or the other project. Now I am able to pour all my energies on this one job and make the best of it. I have to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been supporting me throughout and I hope that support continues because we have a very important period ahead of us in the national team – first up is the COSAFA CUP, then the CHAN tournament, followed by World Cup qualifiers and early next year we play the AFCON qualifiers – so we going to need all the support we can get,” added Baxter.

Bafana Bafana will have a practice match against Platinum Stadium this afternoon to prepare for the COSAFA Cup, while the home team will use the match to ready themselves for the CAF Confederations Cup in Algeria this coming weekend.

The COSAFA Cup started on Sunday, 25 June but South Africa will only join on Sunday, 2 July.