Baxter not behind U20 refusal

Stuart Baxter

He played no part in SuperSport United’s decision to turn down a request by the SA Football Association (Safa) to the club to release players to the SA U20 side, says Stuart Baxter.

United have incurred Safa’s wrath after refusing to release players to the South Korea-bound SA side that is to take part in this month’s U20 World Cup.

Seemingly aware of the club versus country minefield he is about to wade into by virtue of being the new Bafana Bafana coach‚ Baxter pleaded for more harmony between clubs and the national association.

“I didn’t say we weren’t going to release players because I’m not the one who makes that decision‚” he said.

“You’re asking the wrong person. I don’t like the club versus country scenario.

“I want it to be a club and country situation.

“I’m sure the club would love to help, but then there’s the question of what are the rules and what is the situation here and there. “That I can’t give you.” SuperSport and Premier Soccer League logleaders Bidvest Wits have enraged Safa over their refusal to release Teboho Mokoena‚ Reeve Frosler and Phakamani Mahlambi for the U20 World Cup and could have the book thrown at them.

“You’d love to have players taking part in World Cups, but you also don’t want to sacrifice a long‚ hard season. You have to look at the rules‚ have good dialogue and reach some consensus,” Baxter said.

“The most important thing we need in South Africa is cooperation across all levels.

“If we can have everyone pulling in the same direction‚ South Africa could be a powerhouse in football.

“That’s an issue we need to solve.”

SuperSport’s 4-2 win over Cape Town City in Tshwane was not only an exercise in futility‚ but extinguished any hopes the Capetonians may have had of winning the league.

SuperSport were 12 points behind Wits going into the game, but showed excellent character to come from a goal down.

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