Baxter Reveals Cancer Scare Before Bafana’s AFCON Heroics
Stuart Baxter found himself in a difficult situation as Bafana Bafana faced Libya in March, with his doctor informing him that he thought he had cancer.
Bafana went on to beat the Libyans 2-1 in Tunisia to secure their place at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, but Baxter still returned to South Africa knowing that he’d been told that he’d still have to be tested for the disease.
Luckily for him, tests on his return to the country showed that he was not at risk, allowing him to get on with business as usual in the build-up to selecting the provisional squad – that was named yesterday – for AFCON 2019, with the final 23-man squad set to be named next week.
The Briton admitted that it was not easy putting the matter to the back of his mind for the crucial game in Tunisia, but insisted that it was the way that he felt he should handle it.
Speaking to the media this week, Baxter said, "Before we went to the game with Libya, the doctor told me that he thought I had cancer… I went to Tunisia and said, 'No, I don't want to get tested, I've got a game to play and I don't want that in my mind’.
"It was difficult trying to coach a team when you think you could have cancer. I got back and they did the tests and it was okay, thank goodness."
Bafana will assemble for camp early next month, with Baxter and his technical team looking to decide who will be on the plane to Cairo when they jet out for Africa’s biggest football tournament in a few weeks’ time.