For­ward look­ing Bax­ter vexed

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MO­HAU RA­MASHIDJA

LAST year’s Cosafa Cup fi­nal­ists, South Africa and Botswana, will lock horns in to­day’s Plate semi-fi­nal at the Royal Bafo­keng Sta­dium (kick off 4.45pm), af­ter both sides failed to progress to the last four of the tour­na­ment.

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons, Bafana Bafana, suf­fered a 1-0 de­feat to win­ners of Group A, Tan­za­nia, in a quar­ter-fi­nal clash on Sun­day, while Botswana were sub­jected to a 2-1 de­feat by Zam­bia on the same evening.

Bafana’s head coach, Stu­art Bax­ter, yes­ter­day ex­pressed his re­gret re­gard­ing the de­feat.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed in the re­sult and also on the fact that no one re­ally raised up their hands,” Bax­ter said. “The only player whom I be­lieve put his hand up, was Riyaad Noro­dien. He played re­ally well.

“Ev­ery de­feat is a set­back for us,” Bax­ter added. “But if you were to look at the big­ger pic­ture, and ask your­self: ‘Is this a dev­as­tat­ing blow for us or just a dis­ap­point­ing evening,’ then in my view, it was a dis­ap­point­ing evening.”

Bax­ter will hope his Bafana side will be more clin­i­cal in front of goal against the Ze­bras, as this was not the case in their first match of the tour­na­ment against the Taifa Stars.

In that en­counter, Bafana cre­ated nu­mer­ous scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties but failed to cap­i­talise on them, as the likes of Cole Alexan­der, Ju­das Moseamedi and Liam Jor­dan fluffed chance af­ter chance in front of goal.

And though South Africa failed to de­fend their cup ti­tle as the host na­tion in this year’s edition, Bax­ter said it was cru­cial for his tech­ni­cal team not to lose their heads af­ter such a dis­ap­point­ing re­sult.

“Again, look­ing at games like these, you’ve got to keep a lit­tle bit of your com­po­sure and not act out on your dis­ap­point­ment by bring­ing in (ex­pe­ri­enced) play­ers such as ‘Shabba’ (Siphiwe Tsha­bal­ala) and ‘Yeye’ (Reneilwe Let­sholonyane), who are not go­ing to ben­e­fit Bafana in the fu­ture. And so, it’s very im­por­tant that we keep our­selves com­posed. It’s dis­ap­point­ing not to have come out with the de­sired re­sult. How­ever, we’ve got to look at it and ask our­selves which of the young boys have proven that they can han­dle the pres­sure of play­ing for Bafana go­ing for­ward.”

Mean­while, Kaizer Chiefs de­fender, Lorenzo Gordinho, also ex­pressed his dis­ap­point­ment at the 1-0 de­feat.

“We just have to keep on mov­ing for­ward,” Gordinho said. “We can’t af­ford to dwell on the past. (To­day) it’s a new day where we’ll be given a chance to rec­tify our wrongs with a good per­for­mance. We are hop­ing to get a good re­sult and progress to the next round, which is the fi­nal.”

If Bafana beat the Ze­bras this af­ter­noon, they’ll lock horns with ei­ther Swazi­land or Namibia on Fri­day in the Plate fi­nal.

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