Cape Town - Tactical discipline and ill-discipline are two priority areas Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter will address before the team’s make-or-break 2018 World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso next month.
Baxter will read the riot act to his players when they report for camp next week, after their escapades following their loss to Cape Verde in Durban earlier this month.
In the wake of reports of ill-discipline in the Bafana camp in the aftermath of the team’s 2-1 loss at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on September 5, the Englishman has made it clear he will enforce the SA Football Federation’s code of conduct.
The coach said he would not hesitate to drop players who failed to toe the line for future Bafana engagements.
“I have done it before, although it did not come out in the open,” said Baxter.
“A few players were not selected again after their ill-discipline in Germany some years ago, and I will do it again if need be,” Baxter said.
“It is my responsibility to enforce discipline in the camp until players get on the bus to their clubs.”
Two of those players who didn’t feature in Baxter’s team again were the late Gift Leremi and Thabiso Rammile, after they allegedly went on a boozing spree in Germany in 2005.
Baxter said he was disappointed in the players’ behaviour after their loss to Cape Verde.
It was reported that most of them went out drinking to drown their sorrows.
However, Baxter said he would not hang them out to dry in public, but address the matter internally.
Bafana are facing the daunting task of qualifying for the Russia tournament, but the odds are stacked heavily against them.
With just a point to show for their efforts, they need to win their remaining three games to stand a chance of qualifying.
But Baxter put on a brave face, saying he would give it a go and see what happens.
“The remaining games will be like World Cup finals and we have to believe that we can win all of them. That’s the message we need to drum into the players,” he said.
After doing some soul searching after back-to-back defeats to the Blue Sharks, Baxter said Bafana’s downfall in the two games was their mental attitude. He has promised to change this.
He has made a few changes to the squad, which he said were informed by the opposition’s style of play.
Some of the changes were forced by injuries and suspension, but he said others were because of a lack of game time.
“We will need pace against Burkina Faso, hence I brought in some youngsters to give us that advantage.”
However, he insisted the players would have to show their commitment or face the prospects of no longer playing for Bafana.