Attack is not the best response to the indefensible
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  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,