Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has provided his assessment of their opening Africa Cup of Nations clash with Ivory Coast on Monday afternoon.
Bafana suffered a 1-0 defeat through a rather uninspiring performance in which they failed to really threaten The Elephants’ goal.
Critics have been out in full force, criticising the players’ performances and game-plan of the British tactician, who has since conceded that the transition-focussed approach did not work out.
“In the first 15 minutes, we were quite slow with our decision-making and in a way allowed Cote d’Ivoire to come into a better rhythm,” explained Baxter in his post-match presser.
“And I think we were quite poor to transmit the ball from the back to the front. I thought we then settled down and started moving the ball more quickly.
“We got in between their lines and the rest of the half we looked promising. I think we dealt with them quite well and it was an even game.”
Baxter felt the team showed glimpses of improvement in the second half, despite the heat taking its toll on both parties, while lamenting the manner in which the goal was conceded.
“In the second-half, I think the same. The heat affected both teams and I think the tempo dropped, but I still felt we were comfortable in the game,” he continued.
“We were playing better football than we were in the opening stages, and the goal comes when we have a corner, and on the transition we don’t defend the space behind us as well as we had done throughout the game. We made a poor decision to press the ball and we opened the penalty area.”
He further expressed that the lack of chance creation was deserving of the defeat, which now places pressure on Bafana in their remaining group matches against Namibia and Morocco.
“After they scored, we made a couple of changes and we got better possession of the ball but didn’t transit that into dangerous strikes on goal.
“So, doing that against a good team who then go a goal in front, you’re going to have problems. Because of the lack of strikes on goal, we can’t complain about losing the game.
“But I thought the players put in a good performance and it’s a great learning curve for them,” he concluded.