Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter to step down if he fails in AFCON bid
Posted: 11 November 2017 Time: 10:00
Stuart Baxter says he will step down as Bafana Bafana coach if the team fails to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Baxter is under tremendous pressure after he missed out on qualifying for the World Cup for the second time as Bafana coach, following the team's 2-0 defeat to Senegal in the qualifier played at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday night.
Baxter, who failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in his first stint, says no one said he should “pack up and go” if he fails to book a spot at the showpiece set to be played in Russia next year. However should he fail to qualify for the 2019 AFCON in Cameroon, Baxter says no one would need to tell him to pack his bags.
Bafana beat Nigeria 2-0 in their opening Group E AFCON qualifier in June and they will be hoping to qualify for a major competition for the first time since 2015.
"My mandate – and I don’t think we have a written one – but my mandate as I understood was to try qualify for the World Cup and try qualify for AFCON. And if you can do both, that’s great. No one said if you don’t qualify for the World Cup, then you may as well pack up and go and no one said if you don’t qualify for AFCON you may as well pack up and go," Baxter says.
"But as a professional I know that if I have a nightmare in the World Cup [qualifiers] and I have a nightmare in the AFCON [qualifiers], then I will go and they won’t need to chase me out. Because if I don’t think progress is being made on any front, then I won’t stay in the job and that’s not something people have to ask me."
Baxter admitted that the back-to-back 2-1 defeats to Cape Verde were Bafana’s undoing in the qualifiers.
Those two defeats, plus FIFA’s order to have the game against Senegal replayed due to referee Joseph Lamptey’s match manipulation, left Bafana needing a miracle to book a spot in Russia.
They went into the game against Senegal under pressure to win at all costs, but the team could not deliver in front of a good crowd in Polokwane.
The hosts missed opportunities, while Senegal made the most of the chances they created on the break.
"The Cape Verde games destroyed the campaign. With all due respect to Cape Verde, but those are games we expect to win. We didn’t and I think that’s where it fell down. We need to get better."