Cape Town - Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter admits that South Africa potentially hosting the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) would be 'bittersweet' as he is aiming to qualify outright.
READ: Cameroon stripped as hosts of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
SAFA announced on Sunday that it had agreed in principle to honour CAF's plea to host the tournament after Cameroon were dramatically stripped of the continental showpiece.
"The Confederation of African Football has asked the Association to seriously consider hosting AFCON 2019. SAFA will however, meet the Government first before making a decision," wrote the national team on its verified Twitter account which was then re-tweeted by SAFA.
Baxter though, according to TimesLive, said that he wants the national team to qualify on merit for the tournament.
"You don't want to sort of turn off the competitive nature of the Libya game because someone’s suddenly give you a free pass‚" Baxter said.
"So for me‚ I would say it [hosting] would be great because our strategy was that the players need to take part in a major tournament as a part of their development.
The 65-year-old added that a gruelling qualifying campaign would develop his players' mentality in overcoming past failures in previous qualification disappointments.
"I also don't want to turn off the competitive nature of the players to go there [to play Libya away‚ probably in Tunisia] in a situation with a knife at their throats and actually get the result that they need.
"So‚ if I’m being really honest‚ I’ve tried to ignore it [the potential hosting]. For the reason that I want to keep preparing for this game as if it’s the one that’s going to take us there."