Africa Cup of Nations: SA coach Stuart Baxter bemoans 'last minute' plans

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter
South Africa, coached by Stuart Baxter, will play Ivory Coast, Morocco and Namibia in Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

South Africa headed to Dubai on Monday for the last part of their Africa Cup of Nations preparations.

However coach Stuart Baxter has been left unhappy with the way the South Africa Football Association (Safa) has organised the team's build-up.

Initially he felt his side did not have enough warm-up games but was then left annoyed with a last minute friendly organised by Safa.

Bafana Bafana will now face fellow finalists Angola in Egypt on 19 June just two days before the Nations Cup kicks off.

"It's too much last minute. It's too much being at the last minute trying to solve all the problems," said Baxter.

South Africa are spending a week in the United Arab Emirates and will play Ghana in a warm-up game on Friday.

The coach also finalised his 23-man squad before departure by trimming it from the original 27, who had been named for the first week of training.

Two players did not arrive for the camp in Johannesburg - Keegan Dolly because of injury and defender Rivaldo Coetzee, because his mother was seriously ill.

Baxter cut striker Kermit Erasmus and midfielders Fortune Makaringe and Ben Motshwari from the squad.

"I told the players when we selected the squad of 27 players that whether or not they are at the Afcon, I hope they see it as a massive boost to their careers," said the coach.

"I told Kermit that I think he just really got his career back on track at Cape Town City, and I wanted to tell him he is doing well by inviting him to the squad.

"Until the last day he has been in with a good chance, I just think I have cover in those positions, and I had to pick players who can cover at centre back. That tilted the scales a bit.

"I hope he sees it like that, and with the other two lads it is the same. We have more experienced midfield players, I hope they see it as a step forward in their careers."

South Africa open their Cup of Nations campaign against Ivory Coast on 24 June, before a meeting with Morocco four days later.

They then play Namibia in their final pool match on 1 July.

South Africa's final squad:

Goalkeepers: Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs), Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits), Rowen Williams (SuperSport United)

Defenders: Daniel Cardoso (Kaizer Chiefs), Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sifiso Hlanti (both Bidvest Wits), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Buhle Mkhawanazi (Bidvest Wits), Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City), Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Kaizer Chiefs)

Midfielders: Dean Furman (SuperSport United), Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thembinkosi Lorch (Orlando Pirates), Tiyani Mabunda (Mamelodi Sundowns), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford, England), Thulani Serero (Vitesse Arnhem, Netherlands), Bongani Zungu (Amiens, France), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Strikers: Lebogang Maboe (Mamelodi Sundowns), Lebo Mothiba (Racing Strasbourg, France), Percy Tau (Royal Saint Union Gilloise, Belgium), Lars Veldwijk (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Mamelodi Sundowns).

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