Johannesburg - Safa is ready to ditch Stuart Baxter as the next coach of Bafana Bafana.
In the latest twist to the seemingly never-ending Bafana coaching saga, it has emerged that Safa has given Baxter’s representatives until this weekend to sort themselves out, or they’ll need to forget about the deal.
City Press has learnt that Safa is not prepared to pay SuperSport United compensation, which is believed to be in the region of R2.5 million.
A few weeks ago, the deal seemed to be in the bag as Baxter was ready to return to his old job, which he vacated in 2005.
Bafana Bafana have been without a coach since Shakes Mashaba was shown the door in December. Assistant coach Owen Da Gama was in charge of the friendly games against Guinea-Bissau and Angola last month.
A high-ranking Safa official said they are ready to search elsewhere if Baxter does not resolve his contractual issues.
It is believed that Baxter expects Safa to buy him out of his contract with SuperSport, while the association believes he has to negotiate his way out of his situation.
“The fact is, Safa does not have money, so it does not want to pay any compensation,” said the insider.
Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble said he hoped to finalise the deal with Baxter soon.
“We are fairly close to resolving the issue with his representative,” said Mumble on Friday.
“But it is almost a done deal as we have agreed terms with the coach. However, we are not discussing anything with SuperSport as it is a personal matter between us and him.”
Mumble confirmed that the stumbling block was United’s insistence on compensation.
“We are not about to go that route as we will expose ourselves to similar issues in future. Where does it stop? The next coach would want to do the same thing.”
He confirmed that Safa thought it had the deal sealed three weeks ago.
“We thought we had concluded the deal as we had agreed on everything. The only issue has been when he would leave SuperSport.
“But now maybe we will be able to get him sooner as [SuperSport] seem to no longer be in the title race.”
However, he said they could even manage to get him at a later stage.
“It’s not a big deal when he gets released – we have enough intelligence on the ground to know what is happening with our players. He is also here to monitor the players. It is a matter of how they want him to handle the handover at SuperSport with the new coach.”
On Thursday, Baxter said he was in the dark about the proposed move and said the matter was up to Safa and United.
“I haven’t heard from [Safa officials] because they were away in the US, so I can’t give an update,” said Baxter.
The Englishman has admitted that his uncertainty has affected the team’s performance.
United has lost three successive league matches since Baxter became linked with the Bafana job.