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Why World Cup Coach Won’t Help Bafana

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has clarified the continuing absence of Thabo Senong from his technical team since the pair were together in Nigeria for the Africa Cup of Nations qualification opener nearly two years ago. 

Senong remained Bafana’s assistant coach following the sacking of Shakes Mashaba and the appointment of Baxter in May 2017, but there have been reports of a rift between the two. 

This meant that Baxter effectively had no permanent assistant – Molefi Ntseki, Quinton Fortune and Shaun Bartlett all stepping in on a temporary basis. 

Read: Baxter's 'Hot Vein Of Form Selection Criteria' 

With Bartlett now joining Kaizer Chiefs in a similar role after the arrival of Ernst Middendorp in December last year, Baxter was asked if this opened the door for Senong to return to the dugout when Bafana travel to Libya for their final Afcon qualifier late next month.   

“Thabo came with me to my first game in Nigeria, but it became clear that he had his team (under-20 side) and he was more of an asset in that area. And he was also doing his coaching licences,” Baxter explained to the media. 

On Friday, Senong sealed a second World Cup qualification with Amajita – the national under-20 outfit – by reaching the knockout stages of the youth Afcon currently being held in Niger. 

“Thabo is very comfortable with the youth players in this country and enjoys doing that. I have got no problem with Thabo, in fact, I have gone to some of his camps and done some work with him,” said Baxter.   

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