It’s time for Bax­ter to be shown the exit door

Bafana coach has lost the re­spect of play­ers

Sunday World - - Sport - Xo­lile Mt­s­hazo / Sa­muel Shivambu/Back­pagePix

I am one of those Mzansi foot­ball pa­tri­ots not con­vinced that Bafana Bafana can qual­ify for and win a ma­jor tour­na­ment un­der the ste­ward­ship of one Stu­art Bax­ter.

From the time of his first stint with the Bafana team, Bax­ter proved that he was not cut out for coach­ing a na­tional team – any na­tional team, any­where, for that mat­ter.

At club level, yes, where he works with play­ers for the bet­ter part of the sea­son, but not for a short stint, a week to be ex­act, in the case of a na­tional team. Start­ing from his callups to his start­ing XI, the English­man has been found want­ing.

Fol­low­ing the shock­ing Af­con qual­i­fier goal­less draw against 189th-ranked am­a­teurs Sey­chelles in Vic­to­ria this week‚ com­ing on the back of a 6-0 vic­tory at home three days be­fore, Bax­ter has been ex­posed as a man lack­ing in tac­ti­cal acu­men.

Safa had no busi­ness in bring­ing him back.

Re­mem­ber, this is the same man who failed dis­mally in his first stint with Bafana, then again in his sec­ond com­ing when we could not beat an­other min­now, Cape Verde, in two suc­ces­sive matches to qual­ify for Rus­sia 2018.

Bax­ter has been ac­cused of favouritism for his re­liance on his for­mer play­ers at the clubs he coached be­fore and not look­ing which other play­ers are avail­able lo­cally and abroad. His re­la­tion­ship with PSL and NFD club coaches is at an all time low.

Safa will be quick to tell us Herve Re­nard was too ex­pen­sive, but the two-time Af­con­win­ning French­man was avail­able and will­ing to come to Mzansi. It is ev­i­dent, too, that play­ers have lost re­spect for Bax­ter, judg­ing by their per­for­mance for him and ul­ti­mately the coun­try. The coach has not en­deared him­self to the past and cur­rent crop of play­ers.

They don’t take him se­ri­ously and don’t re­spect him.

He must be shown the door af­ter the home game against Nige­ria on Novem­ber 17, even if he wins it. We can­not af­ford to have this man on the bench even if we qual­ify for Cameroon 2019. His record speaks for it­self: three vic­to­ries, a draw and four de­feats in eight World Cup and Af­con qual­i­fiers is not good enough.

With more than a year at the helm, Bax­ter has not mas­tered who to call up as reg­u­lar mem­bers of the squad.

To make mat­ters worse, while em­ployed by Safa he was en­gaged in ne­go­ti­a­tions with his for­mer clubs Su­perS­port United and Kaizer Chiefs to dump Bafana for a sec­ond term with ei­ther club. What was the coach think­ing mak­ing just one sub­sti­tu­tion when the score­board was re­flect­ing 0-0 against the Sey­chelles.

He brought on the ver­sa­tile Aubrey Modiba‚ who at least had two clear-cut chances.

Dino Ndlovu should not have been called up be­cause, de­spite a goal in the first game, he failed to stamp his au­thor­ity as a re­li­able at­tack­ing mid­fielder. Phaka­mani Mahlambi should have taken his place.

Bafana are frus­trat­ingly stag­nant un­der coach Bax­ter.

We need a man with fresh ideas and vi­sion af­ter next month’s match against the Su­per Eagles, who are watch­ing with keen in­ter­est.

We need to bring back re­spectabil­ity to the na­tional team, and that starts with a coach who com­mands re­spect.

PS: The SABC must just use some of the R3bn govern­ment bailout to pur­chase the Safa na­tional teams TV rights. It’s tax­pay­ers’ money af­ter all.

Stu­art Bax­ter has a dis­mal record as SA coach, the writer ar­gues .

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