Stuart Baxter has been working on bringing Joel Untersee into the Bafana Bafana setup for some time now, though now those hopes have been dashed.
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Baxter confirmed almost a year ago that the then Juventus right-back had declared his intention to choose South Africa over Switzerland at senior level, however, there has been a hold-up in sorting out his situation and he is still yet to play for Bafana.
It is thought that there had been an ambition to get the 25-year-old defender on board for the crucial African Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya next month, with his experience at Juve and in the UEFA Europa League with FC Zurich a welcome bonus for Baxter and his technical team.
Now though, as confirmed by Zurich, any chance that Baxter had of bringing Untersee into the squad next month have been dealt a major blow after he fractured a bone in his back, with the Swiss youth international now facing a number of weeks on the sidelines.
Zurich were knocked out of the UEL this month by Serie A giants, Napoli, and Untersee’s exit meant that there are now no South Africans in either of Europe’s top continental tournaments going into the final rounds of the respective competitions.
While Untersee has expressed his desire to play for Bafana going forward, it remains to be seen when – or if – he will get that chance.