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'Bafana players have to bloody wake up'

Safa technical director Tovey says Baxter's future never at stake

07 December 2017 - 07:43 By Sazi Hadebe
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter. File photo.
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter. File photo.
Image: AFP

If you thought Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter was going to be hauled over the coals after his team's failure to qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia, think again.

SA Football Association technical director Neil Tovey said on Wednesday Baxter's future was not under scrutiny when they met him this week to review Bafana's disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign.

"Not at one moment, no," said Tovey.

Asked why Baxter's future was not discussed after Bafana failed to qualify for a second World Cup in a row, Tovey echoed the beleaguered Bafana coach and said it was not the Briton's mandate to get the team to Russia.

"That wasn't his mandate [to take Bafana to Russia].he's only been in this job for seven months," Tovey said.

"Should we keep replacing the coach?

"You are (the media) the same people that were criticising Safa on how many coaches we've had for so many years.

"We selected him (Baxter) for a reason.

"Sometimes we have to look at players.

"He doesn't kick the ball. It doesn't mean the strategies were wrong.

"You've got to look at the players. The players have to wake up and look at themselves. Are they giving enough?"

Tovey said he was still very much confident of Baxter's ability to take Bafana forward.

"Yes, I'm confident," Tovey said. "I see how he works and going forward I've confidence in him. It's about the application of the players. The players have to bloody wake up. They've got to ask themselves if they're doing enough.

"You know it's always easy to point fingers at the coach. But those players have to start pointing fingers at themselves."

About the team not qualifying for the World Cup, what was the technical committee's feeling? "We are obviously not happy or the country happy about not qualifying and he's not happy as a coach about us not going to the World Cup," he said.

"But that was never a question on whether he's going to stay or not. Our meeting was all about what were the pitfalls? What went wrong? How can we correct them? There were a whole lot of things, mainly touching on how we are going to develop the players and make them ready to play for Bafana."