At­tack is not the best re­sponse to the in­de­fen­si­ble

Business Day - - SPORTS DAY -

Stu­art Bax­ter may have re­ceived a stay of ex­e­cu­tion af­ter Bafana Bafana’s fail­ure to qual­ify for the 2018 World Cup but the Bri­ton still faces a rep­ri­mand from his South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) em­ployer for his ut­ter­ances mo­ments af­ter the plane tick­ets to Rus­sia crum­bled to dust last week.

Bafana have not qual­i­fied for the World Cup since 2002 and it was in­evitable that Bax­ter’s ca­reer prospects at Safa House would come un­der scru­tiny af­ter the 2-0 de­feat to Sene­gal in Polok­wane on Fri­day night.

Bax­ter faced his in­quisi­tors with the bravado of a head­mas­ter con­firm­ing de­ten­tion to a class of noise mak­ers and said qual­i­fy­ing for the 2018 World Cup was never his man­date.

“My man­date, if I have one, be­cause I don’t think we have a writ­ten man­date, as I un­der­stood it, was to try and qual­ify for the World Cup and the [2019] Africa Cup of Na­tions. And if you can do both, that’s great,” Bax­ter ex­plained.

“No one said if I don’t qual­ify for the World Cup, I may as well pack up and go. And no one said if you don’t qual­ify for Af­con, you may as well pack up and go.

“But as a pro­fes­sional, I know that if I have a night­mare in the World Cup and I have a night­mare in the Af­con, then I will go. And they won’t need to chase me out be­cause if I don’t think progress is be­ing made on any front, then I won’t stay on the job.

“That is not some­thing peo­ple have to ask me.”

The gasps could be heard in the bow­els of the Cango Caves.

Ap­par­ently even his em­ploy­ers at Safa House nearly fell off their chairs, stunned by the cal­lous com­ments.

The na­tion’s soc­cer lovers couldn’t wrap their heads around the na­tional team coach’s in­dif­fer­ence at a time when they were still fum­ing af­ter yet an­other fail­ure to qual­ify for the World Cup.

But Bax­ter was not done and he said South African foot­ball still had a long way to go be­cause there had been no change in men­tal­ity and work ethic since his first spell with the na­tional team 12 years ago. He also fired a barb at his em­ploy­ers, the Pre­mier Soc­cer League (PSL) and the me­dia,


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