BAX­TER’S BIG BALLS-UP

There are no ex­cuses for woe­ful Bafana

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Un­plugged by BBK Twit­ter: @bbkun­plugged99

What a load of balder­dash. No, make that an ut­ter, com­plete bol­locks.

There is no other way to de­scribe what amounted to a pseudo per­for­mance from Stu­art Bax­ter and his boys against Cape Verde on Friday night.

All the talk from the team about know­ing what needed to be done in Praia was blown to smithereens. In terms of a class com­par­i­son, Bafana Bafana ver­sus Cape Verde is akin to Floyd May­weather ver­sus Conor McGre­gor: a mis­match of mon­u­men­tal pro­por­tions.

Bax­ter and his charges have gifted Cape Verde their first home win in two years. At some stage of the prepa­ra­tion for the 2018 Fifa World Cup qual­i­fier, the hosts had 12 play­ers in camp . . . yes, 12!

Goal­keeper Ron­wen Wil­liams is a nice lad. But you’d be hard-pressed to re­call one match, just one, that he has ex­celled in goal for Bafana.

Dean Fur­man has had his mo­ments when he has mar­shalled the mid­field like a fore­man. But, with all due re­spect, there is no way in hell that the Su­perS­port United cap­tain can get a start­ing berth ahead of his Mamelodi Sun­downs coun­ter­part Hlom­pho Kekana. Ger­rara here. For­get the clumsy penalty Fur­man gave away. He can’t start ahead of Kekana for one rea­son and one rea­son only: You are play­ing on a field that has a wind blow­ing in one di­rec­tion.

You know Kekana has a thun­der­bolt of a shot which he un­leashes to great ef­fect for club and coun­try. He does it as a mat­ter of course for Sun­downs. Most im­por­tantly, he did it stu­pen­dously for Bafana in March last year against Cameroon in the 2017 Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fier.

That goal was no fluke, that’s why it was voted a top-10 con­tender for goal of the year in the Fifa Puskás Award 2016.

Yes, Bax­ter didn’t ask Mu­lo­mowan­dau Mathoho to get a red card. But the lanky one had al­ready showed signs that he was two burg­ers short of a happy meal for his club when he was sent off against Bloem­fontein Celtic.

The wor­ry­ing signs are way too glar­ing to ig­nore. The sooner we re­alise, ac­cept and ad­mit that this is not Bafana United or Su­perS­port Bafana, the bet­ter for all con­cerned. Wakey, wakey!

And when it comes to sub­sti­tu­tions, why not Percy Tau ahead of Bradley Grob­ler? Who scored the goal that put the gloss on that his­toric win against Nige­ria? Tau of course, but he was an or­na­ment on the bench un­til it was way too late.

Yes, Themba Zwane, Kea­gan Dolly, Le­bo­gang Manyama and Bon­gani Zungu were miss­ing in ac­tion in the first half.

But Bax­ter did noth­ing as­tute to redeem the sit­u­a­tion at half time. Ab­so­lutely bug­ger all!

Blimey, at the rate things are go­ing, Bax­ter’s Bafana will reach Rus­sia al­right — their route would be via our Brics mem­ber­ship, that al­liance we are in along­side Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia and China. There is ab­so­lutely no two ways about it. All he needed to do was to get a re­sult.

A char­ter plane was hired for the team and ev­ery need was sat­is­fied to en­sure that they per­formed to the op­ti­mum.

The road to Rus­sia was promis­ing un­til the Friday night im­plo­sion. Prior to landing in Praia, we had our fate firmly in our hands. We were in the pound seats, against a team that had suf­fered two de­feats. Look at us now. Just look at us. We are a sorry, pity party.

The de­feat to Cape Verde was a ma­jor set­back on any given Friday. We were poor on the night. No pos­i­tives to speak of. Plain pedes­trian. Baba, please speak to your friend Vladimir Putin to se­cure our spot as guests of Brics, pretty please.

Jerr! What a load of balder­dash.

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