6 April 2019 – Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter, his Banyana Banyana counterpart, Desiree Ellis and Amajita coach Thabo Senong, all made presentations to the SAFA NEC in Durban on Saturday, 06 April 2019.
All touched on where their respective teams are coming from and the way forward.
Baxter whose team stormed into AFCON tournament scheduled for Egypt in style, insisted on building a team with discipline on and off the pitch of play.
He called on the continued support of all stakeholders such as the Premier Soccer League (PSL), the media and fans.
“It is important to have the buy in of all of all stakeholders in order to read from the same page,” said Baxter.
The Bafana Bafana coach said the average age of his current squad was now 26 from close to 29 when he took over.
“We need to build a team that will dream it, believe it and achieve it and the way we package AFCON is critical. We need a balancing act considering there are a number of tournaments taking place at the same time,” he said in reference that he will talk to u23 and u20 coaches so that all three squads appropriately utilise the available players.
Baxter admitted that Bafana Bafana was the darling of the nation and was impressed by the huge turnout at the airport to welcome the team from Tunisia where they beat Libya 2-1 to qualify for AFCON.
He added that after the draw on 12 April, the technical team will be in a position to know issues like the training base, call up dates and other important matters.
Coach Desiree Ellis spoke about the journey her team has taken to where they are today having qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup having defended the COSAFA title and runners up at the AWCON.
“This is our first World Cup and while results are important, we should not perch our expectations too high. But we need to do well because we are bidding to host 2023 FIFA World Cup so it is important for Banyana Banyana to do well on all fronts,” she said also emphasising the need for players to study and have a fall back plan when they hang up their boots.
Amajita coach Thabo Senong complimented the synergy of all national team coaches as a recipe for the current success.
“All coaches are on the same page. We are going to our FIFA World Cup for the second successive tourney and this is thanks to all coaches working together,” he said adding that the aim of the u20 team now was to break the jinx of not making it to the next round.
The Amajita camp starts on 16 April at the High Performance Centre for building team cohesion while the final camp will commence on 4 May in Europe.
Senong said Amajita was the foundation of SAFA’s Vision 2022 hence it was critical for them to do well.