The Anglo-Scottish tactician is reportedly in talks with the Bhubaneswar-based ISL outfit.

Stuart Baxter, the former England U-19, South Africa and Finland national team manager has been appointed as new head coach of Odisha FC. The 66-year-old was a free agent since August 2019 and will lead the Juggernauts from the sidelines next season onward.

Today, we at Khel Now compile some interesting facts from his career:

5. Baxter’s father was a coach at Aston Villa

His father Bill Baxter was a coach at Aston Villa. Born and brought up in Wolverhampton, he spent his academy days at Premier League sides Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa.

4. Baxter had received a call-up to the Australian national team

In 1978 during his South Melbourne FC days, Stuart Baxter received a national team call-up after having impressed the then Australia tactician James Shoulder. He trained few times with the Socceroos and also appeared in a couple of unofficial games, however didn’t make an official debut for the team.

3. A martial arts enthusiast

Stuart Baxter had an inclination towards martial arts since childhood. But, having been born in the family of a football coach, he had to leave his passion to make a career in the sport.

Towards the end of his playing career, he again turned to freestyle Karate and kick-boxing. Later, he also learnt some arts with the sword of Katana. Baxter idolizes Bruce Lee for the composed mindset that he possessed.

2. Infamous tenure with the Finland national team

In 2008, after he joined the Finland national team, it turned out to be a roller-coaster ride. In early 2010, they suffered back-to-back defeats in two crucial games against Hungary and Moldova. It made the national media go berserk against him, as they started criticizing Baxter citing that he had a ‘language barrier’ in communicating with the players. Some media also reported that the coach favoured certain players in the team.

That resulted in Baxter questioning the journalists’ ability to understand the game in a rough tone. Moreover, the statistics weren’t in his favour either as during his tutelage, Finland sank in the FIFA rankings from 33rd to 86th. Thus, amidst all the speculation, he was sacked in November 2010.

1. Defeating Egypt at Africa Cup of Nations 2019

Stuart Baxter’s South Africa thrashed Mohamed Salah’s Egypt 1-0 at their home in a Round of 16 clash at the Africa Cup of Nations 2019. Though, Bafana Bafana were knocked out by Odion Ighalo’s Nigeria in the quarterfinals, it was an achievement that made Stuart Baxter a household name in South Africa.

He also won two Premier Soccer League titles with Kaizer Chiefs, which also added to his popularity. On 2nd August 2019, Baxter submitted his resignation.

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