Baxter cannot – and should not – shoulder all the blame

Stuart Baxter. Picture: Themba Makofane
Stuart Baxter. Picture: Themba Makofane

Was Baxter the only problem at Bafana?

As Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane would say: “We have seen this movie before. Or is it a move? Either way, it works.”

Stuart Baxter’s departure from Bafana Bafana’s hot seat raises the issue that some of us have been talking about for donkey’s years.

Are the coaches a real problem at Bafana or is there something deeper than what we see at face value?

My Bantu education mathematics tells me Bafana have had 26 coaches in 27 years since 1992.

That is way too many and it is unacceptable.

To be honest, I don’t think coaches are the only problems in our national team.

Whoever comes will walk into the same problems. Is the setup at Safa conducive for coaches to succeed?

I don’t care who you bring, they will not succeed.

Read: Life after Baxter: Safa technical team convenes to map the way forward

You can bring the best of the best in the business but I bet they won’t go far with the kind of setup they will find at Safa.

Our football needs a serious overhaul – from the field to administrators.

Why should Baxter bite the bullet alone? It is a collective responsibility and people should be honest and face the music.

Granted, as the man in charge, he should take responsibility for the team’s poor performances.

He is by no means a saint or a messiah and he would be the first one to admit that he could have done some things differently.

But while many are rejoicing his departure, the big question is: Where to now for Bafana?

Personally, I would give Baxter a 60% rating for his time at Bafana.

He was not too bad but could have done better.

Under him, Bafana were showing signs of improvements: Discipline was there and defence was stable – they conceded only four goals in four matches in Egypt.

They went through the qualifiers without losing a game – winning three and drawing three. If that’s not positive then I don’t know what people really want.

The only aspects missing from the team were confidence and a killer punch.

Bafana were playing in patches and convincing at times.

Their main downfall was consistency – they could not play with the same intensity for two consecutive matches. But the same applies to local teams.

So that’s where it starts. Baxter cannot and should not be faulted for the players’ lack of mental strength because it starts at club level.

Now it is back to the drawing board – for the umpteenth time – as we scratch another one off the list.

I can only say good luck to whoever is coming – he’s gonna need it, lots of it.

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July 2020

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