After watching the South African national team, Bafana Bafana, in a double header against Brazil and Mozambique, where they gave a good account of themselves in a 1-0 defeat in Brazil and at times played well in a 2-0 win against an under strength Mozambique team.

The biggest positive for me was the form of my five players who were selected to the squad by new coach Gordon Igesund. They all did well but our goalkeeper Khune kept them in it in Brazil and Bernard Parker gave David Luiz a really hard time and scored both goals against Mozambique.

Benni McCarthy och May Mahlangu i samspråk. Foto:

Obviously I was also interested to see how May Mahlangu shaped up for Bafana Bafana (boys boys) and was disappointed to see he didn’t get much playing time as I am an admirer of the little guys ability. I can only think that the coach feels under pressure to look at some of the other players first as they are more publicised by the SA press.

While they were away we had a challenge to keep our squad sharp during the twelve day break. The players worked hard but the weather made it more problematic shifting between very warm sunshine to thunder, lightning and monsoon rain or hail. On one day in ten minutes the sky turned black, the hail pounded down to turn the pitch white and the many shaven heads of our players took a real battering , they all thought I was a madman not to send them in but I thought that it will do them no harm ! If I can stand it they can and we may have to play in it some day.

We did a good job to recuperate the national players, I had to rest  Shabalala and Metohu, and hit the ground running in our game against Black Leopards. We over powered them going 2-0 up in 15 mins. A great response to their coach who was demanding a real ” welcome to Joburg” start to the game. Then after 35 mins with us dominating completely the heavens opened and the hail ( small golf balls) battered down. The referee was more sensible than me and took the players straight off. With the 20000 crowd in great spirits , they streamed onto the pitch to play in the rare white stuff covering the field. We waited for the ground staff  to clear the lines but that did not work so the game was abandoned!!! Replay on Wednesday. I was not very happy at the press conference as you can imagine but with some time to reflect I can also see the funny side. ”Match abandoned in Joburg due to hail?”

You call it South Africa, I call it my office!!!!!

Go well Sweden,
Stuart Baxter

Stort lycka till till mina gamla lag AIK och HIF när de drar igång Europa League-spelet. Spännande lottningar och båda har chanser att tar nya Europeiska skalper och överraska även den mer namnkunnige motståndaren. Go for it!!!

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