Stuart Baxter says he gained useful information from Bafana Bafana's Cosafa Cup campaign
Posted: 8 July 2017 Time: 11:53
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has highlighted the positives from their 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup campaign after winning the Plate final.
South Africa edged Namibia 1-0, thanks to a deflected Mohau Mokate effort in the first half, to be crowned Plate champions at the Moruleng Stadium on Friday evening.
Baxter conceded that his side made a lucky escape as they faced tremendous pressure in the dying stages, but singled out Boalefa Pule's fine save late on to see out the win.
“The result could have gone either way, we were hanging on in the last few minutes as Namibia was bombarding us," admitted Baxter.
"The save by Pule during referee’s optional time was outstanding. But if I look at the game as a whole, I was disappointed with our start because they started brighter than us.
“We missed a couple of chances during transition because we were not calm enough, and they came back into the game and started to apply a lot of pressure.
"At that point I had to put the kids on because we had decided to introduce the young ones in the end to try and run the game out. It’s a chance you take but I wanted to expose them to that, and I think they did quite well.”
The British tactician also explained his constant chopping and changing of formations, which may also be expected at the CHAN tournament in Kenya next year.
"I challenged the players with three different ways of playing – we played 4-2-3-1 against Tanzania, 4-3-3 against Botswana and 4-4-2 against Namibia, and I was doing that to test my players," he explained.
"Against Botswana it took a while before we could play with our two strikers and support them properly. But I thought once we started playing, we controlled the game quite well.
“We can’t be happy when we don’t win a tournament, but this week in general has given me a lot of information, and that will help me in the future selections.
"Remember that we decided with the Football Association [SAFA] that we will make the most of the Cosafa Cup and CHAN matches.
"We agreed that we will base both competitions with the Under-20 squad and strengthen it with a few PSL players where we can, because there are also some players we want to check out there, so that’s the positive.
"But the fact that we did not go further in the Cosafa Cup is not [a positive].”