Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Phakaaathi Reporter
2 minute read
6 Sep 2017
10:16 am

Bafana coach defends team selection after Cape Verde loss

Phakaaathi Reporter

Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has defended his team selection following the 2-1 loss to Cape Verde that left the national team’s World Cup hopes in tatters.

Stuart Baxter coach of South Africa (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Baxter surprised many when he selected a relatively defensive starting lineup at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

“I pick the team that I think is going to deliver on the day, and you make the substitutions that you think are well-timed. But whether they’re the right substitutions or not, is a matter of opinion,” Baxter told SuperSport TV after the game.

“We got a goal down after a few minutes [in the second half]. It changes the mindset and changes the whole game. The instructions I gave at halftime, then maybe are not relevant as we’ve got to chase the game.

“So you need to get on the more attacking options, which is why Lebo went on first, and we put Andile on, and we put Percy on because we wanted to [get on] our attacking options.

“But at the same time, we were gambling big time, and we knew it as they were as close to getting a third goal as we were to getting an equaliser. But that is the gamble we had to take.

“The goal came too late for us. If it had come 10 or 15 minutes earlier, maybe we’d have a chance. It was a lot of effort and a lot of character, but your organisation disappears when you keep on throwing on only attacking players.”

Baxter says he was gutted by Tuesday night’s result, but added Bafana would not throw in the towel yet.

“What it means to me, is that I am totally gutted. What it means to me as a professional, as someone that loves this country as well as many of the South Africans do, what it means to be personally is that I am very, very, very disappointed,” said Baxter.

“In terms of the group, we have to now rely on other results, we don’t have it in our own hands. We need to make sure that we do our job first, and I think that is what we should’ve done tonight. That’s what we will try to do in the next two games, pick up maximum points and just hope for a bit of help somewhere else,” concluded the Bafana mentor.