Embattled Bafana coach Baxter does not worry about what people think of him

03 October 2017 - 11:47 By Mninawa Ntloko
Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter addresses the media during the South African senior men's national team press conference at Southern Sun Montecasino on October 02, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter addresses the media during the South African senior men's national team press conference at Southern Sun Montecasino on October 02, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Stuart Baxter remains under heavy scrutiny but the increasingly pressured Bafana Bafana coach says he’s developed a very thick skin and no longer worries about what the critics say about him.

The Briton has faced furious criticism from the media and the nation’s soccer lovers since the back-to-back defeats to Cape Verde that left Bafana’s chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup hanging by the thinnest of threads.

Pertinently‚ the Bafana coach is well aware that the criticism will escalate considerably if his charges fail to beat Burkina Faso in a must-win World Cup qualifier at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon and South Africa officially crashes out of the race to reach Russia next year.

“Look I’m too old and too ugly to worry about what people think of me anymore honestly‚” the Briton said.

“You know‚ you guys write nice things about me (when Bafana beat Nigeria in an away 2019 African Nations Cup qualifier in June) and it does not pump me up.

"And when you guys batter me (after the defeats to Cape Verde)‚ it does not knock me down.

“Don’t let success go to your head and don’t let failure go to your heart.

“I think I have been met with a sort of 50/50 — people trying to encourage me and people showing their displeasure.

“But again‚ I will take that for what it is — it is a part of my job.

“You know you are never as good as you are when you win and you are not as bad as they say you are when you lose.

“I think disappointment‚ frustration‚ it can throw up a whole whirlwind of criticism‚ some warranted and some probably not warranted.

“But you need to take it because you know that this is a game of emotions. This is a game that stirs up passion.

“So you know that when it’s all sugary sweet when you win you know that you are not that good.”

Bafana remain rooted to the foot of the Group D table and only have one point to show for their trouble after three matches.

The visitors‚ on the other hand‚ lead the standings and have six points from four matches.


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