Baxter less than impressed

04 July 2017 - 08:44
By Mark Gleeson
Bafana coach Stuart Baxter. File photo.
Image: JAMES OATWAY Bafana coach Stuart Baxter. File photo.

None of the fringe players given a chance to wear the national team jersey made any impression on new Bafana coach Stuart Baxter in the disappointing 1-0 loss to Tanzania at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Sunday.

The makeshift South African team, cobbled together to defend their Cosafa Castle Cup crown, flopped out in their opening game and now have to play in the losers' plate competition, starting with Botswana at the Moruleng Stadium today (kickoff 5pm).

Such was the poverty of the performance that Baxter said candidly afterwards: "No one really put their hand up. Maybe only [Riyadh] Norodien. I thought he did well.

"From our point of view it was a disappointing evening, but it was more about getting information. So, I'll have to satisfy myself with information rather than the result.

"Scrapping around to put a team together that trains three or four sessions and then not getting anything out of it is meaningless but results are also important.

"It's development against results but you don't want to give the result away, you always want to win."

Caught between a rock and hard place, the Cosafa Castle Cup is an assignment the national team coach could have done without, and while the tournament offers not much more than a chance to look at fringe players, Baxter now has another loss to his name.

"I didn't think it was a very good game from either side and I didn't think the pitch was very helpful.

"The ball was bobbling all over the place. I thought both sides had problems trying to play real football and it became like play long, pick up second balls, get balls into the box and for both teams it was about defending first ball, defending the second ball.

"In the first half we let in a goal when I thought we had just started to take control and try to play. After that a little bit of panic set in.

"The second half we created three or four very good chances but didn't take them. The panic meant everything was done in a rush and that's why we missed chances."

Baxter said he would be tempted to now play the other members of the squad in the match against the Zebras.

South Africa play Botswana again over two legs later this month in the Chan 2018 qualifiers.
- TimesLIVE