SuperSport won’t allow SAFA to poach Baxter

With rumours circling that Stuart Baxter is a candidate for the Bafana Bafana hot-seat, SuperSport United chairman Khulu Sibiya says he’ll do all he can to keep him at the club.

The national team are still without a head coach after the South African Football Association (SAFA) parted ways with Shakes Mashaba back in November.

Although Mashaba is set to appeal his decision, SAFA are reportedly scouting out his successor.

Those linked with the job, mainly by speculation, include international coaches Claude Le Roy, Ruud Krol, Carlos Queiroz and Roy Hodgson, as well as Premiership-based duo Gavin Hunt [Bidvest Wits] and Baxter.

The Englishman was in charge of Bafana Bafana 12-years ago. But according to Sibiya, last season’s Nedbank Cup-winning coach won’t be having a second stint.

“I am not releasing Baxter and I want to retain him. I’m very ambitious about winning the league,” he told the Sowetan.

“Unlike what [Sundowns boss] Patrice [Motsepe] is saying about Pitso [Mosimane] that he’s willing to release him [to Bafana], I’m not willing to release Stuart.”

Apart from winning the Nedbank Cup with Matsatsantsa just months after arriving, the 63-year-old Baxter took his side to the 2016 Telkom Knockout final and has guided them to joint top position in the league standings at the half-way point of the season.

“Personally, I think Stuart has done a very good job with SuperSport,” Sibiya continued. “I mean, it is amazing how professional that guy is. You never know until someone is close to you.

“I had Cavin Johnson and he came with good results [from Platinum Stars] and then it was Gordon Igesund, but Stuart has made a big difference and the players love him.

“I think the players play for Stuart and the players we thought were deadwood have come alive.”