Baxter Reveals Moment Bafana Stars Warmed To On-Fire Dutchman
Stuart Baxter says that he was impressed with what he saw from in-form Dutch striker, Lars Veldwijk, sharing a story about when he felt Bafana Bafana’s players warmed to the player.
Veldwijk has been in red hot form for Sparta Rotterdam in the Eerste Divisie this season, scoring 22 goals in 35 league games as his side look to try and secure a spot in the Eredivisie for the 2019/20 season.
Baxter brought the 27-year-old back into the South African setup for the camp in Tunisia as they beat Libya 2-1 to secure a spot at this year’s African Cup of Nations, and he has revealed that he liked what he saw from the giant former Nottingham Forest and PEC Zwolle man.
The Bafana coach told the media, “I had a short look at him, and I liked what I saw... At this moment I don’t think he’s a competitor to burst into the the team, but he’s a very interesting impact player for us.
“On the camp now I got the feeling that the boys warmed to him a little bit, because I asked them to play him in a certain way. I said ‘Don’t play with him the same way you play with Percy (Tau), because he can’t do that, but do play with him like you play with a big striker who wants to manhandle the centre back’.”
Baxter also explained that there was a moment in Tunisia when he thinks the players changed how they viewed the attacker, saying, “We played a practice game and they played a ball down the channel… Buhle (Mkhwanazi) was coming out and he was very comfortable, and suddenly Lars just ran straight over him, took the ball down and smashed it top corner from about 20 yards…
“I saw all the lads look at each other as if to say, ‘Hey, we could use that’. I think our approach to Lars has to be correct, otherwise he’s no use to us, and I do see him as an impact player.”
Baxter is set to name his AFCON squad later this month for the tournament in Egypt, and Veldwijk will no doubt be hoping to make the cut as he seeks his first goal in South African colours.