BAFANA Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has repeated his willingness to relinquish his position should the team fail to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Bafana face a must-win tie away to Libya in their final Group E fixture, which has been scheduled for March 22, with a time and venue yet to be confirmed by the hosts.
Currently second in the pool and two points ahead of the Mediterranean Knights, with leaders Nigeria having already qualified, Baxter and his charges are under immense pressure to claim at least a point to secure their spot at the tournament finals to be hosted in Egypt in June.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup, the Briton vowed to step down should he then fail also to lead them to this year’s Afcon, and he has since reiterated his stance while also clarifying suggestions that Safa cannot afford to sack him.
“I said before, if we don’t qualify, certainly I will tell the Safa, ‘you better make sure that you really want me to carry on because I’ll walk if you want’,” said Baxter at a media briefing on Thursday.
“All this nonsense about, ‘it’ll cost Safa a fortune’ to get rid of me — you can ask the guys sitting with me [Safa colleagues], it will not cost them a bloody fortune.”
The former Kaizer Chiefs mentor, who departed the Soweto giants in 2015 despite winning two league titles and a Nedbank Cup during his three-year spell, has said that if conditions aren’t suitable despite getting Bafana past Libya next month, he may still quit. “Also, if I can’t do the job here and I feel we’re not moving forward at the pace that we want because of certain things, and I just can’t do it anymore, I’ll also walk, even if they want me to stay,” he added.
“We’ve all got to be happy with [my staying], not only the FA. We may win, and everybody goes bananas after we beat Libya 3-0 but, in my heart of hearts, I know that I can’t do it anymore. So then, why should I stay? But on the other end, if we don’t get the result we want, but we see that we’re on the right path and I’m convinced of that, I will say [to Safa], ‘look, I’ll stay if you want.’
“But, of course, if we don’t qualify, I will put my hat down and say, ‘listen, if you want me to go, I’ll go.’” — KickOff.