Difficult to find positives, says dejected Bafana coach

Stuart Baxter (Getty Images)
Stuart Baxter (Getty Images)

Cairo - South Africa coach Stuart Baxter admitted it was tough to draw any positives from Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Nigeria in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

As it happened: Bafana 1-2 Nigeria

Bafana Bafana stunned the hosts Egypt in the last 16 but were eliminated four days later in Cairo after William Troost-Ekong bundled in a late winner for three-time champions Nigeria.

"It's difficult when you've lost a game in the dying minutes, it's difficult to find positives. I'm sure in one week's time I will find some positives, but at this moment I'm finding it very difficult," said Baxter.

"I thought in the first half we weren't brave enough, brave enough to get on the ball in tight space, and brave enough to press higher. In the second half we tried to do that better, and we managed to get a better more mobile possession which gave Nigeria more problems, but we still couldn't find that last strike on goal."

Nigeria took the lead through a first-half goal by Samuel Chukwueze but South Africa hit back 20 minutes from time when Bongani Zungu's header was awarded with the aid of VAR, being used at the tournament for the first time, after the linesman had originally flagged for offside.

"Nigeria were always dangerous, really well organised and have good players, and because we didn't defend as well as we could and we tried to press higher, we left some spaces down the flanks where their good players could attack," said Baxter.

"And then you make the choice as a coach: you go defensive and try to have 1-1 and go to extra time, or you try to win the game. 

"This is a tournament, you get nothing for a draw. If I had suddenly gone defensive it would be admitting I didn't think we were good enough to beat Nigeria. I think in the tournament you've got to take that chance.

"So we tried to win the game but we lost it in the dying minutes which is tough to take, but congratulations to Gernot (Rohr) and his team, I'm sure they'll be one of the teams competing to lift the trophy."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 10020 votes
Cricket
11% - 2688 votes
Football
19% - 4540 votes
Athletics
2% - 593 votes
Boxing
1% - 224 votes
Cycling
2% - 552 votes
Golf
5% - 1181 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1995 votes
Tennis
3% - 807 votes
Water sports
1% - 213 votes
American sports
1% - 297 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 767 votes
Vote