Former Bafana Bafana midfielder Jabu Mahlangu has commented on the national team’s recent AFCON showing and welcomed the departure of coach Stuart Baxter.
Bafana last month returned from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where they were knocked out by Nigeria at the quarterfinal stage.
It was a first continental showpiece for South Africa since 2015, when they were knocked out at the group stage, with Baxter taking credit for having gone to the Last Eight for the first time since hosting the tournament in 2013.
However, Mahlangu was not at all convinced by the team’s performances prior to knocking The Pharaohs out in the Last 16, as they managed just one victory against Group D whipping boys Namibia, while he expressed his delight at Baxter having stepped down from the helm.
“Personally, I think Bafana Bafana’s AFCON was disappointing. Even though we were knocked out at the quarterfinals, in terms of the performance we didn’t even deserve to be there, in my opinion,” Mahlangu tells KickOff.com.
“Because, we were helped by the best third-placed rule, so we can’t celebrate that, especially when we’re a country like South Africa that has so much talent and is so rich in terms of history of football – you can’t celebrate that.
“The former Bafana coach Stuart Baxter even came back with an attitude, when they asked him about the performance not being up to par in the group stages – he was arrogant and said, ‘No, but we lost in the quarterfinals.’
“But, how did we get into the quarterfinals? We never won to get into the quarterfinals, we were put there by the new rule of ‘best third-place’, so you can’t come here and say you are not even ‘desperate for this job’.
“I think Stuart Baxter didn’t respect us as a country; he didn’t respect Bafana Bafana as the team, so I wanted him to go and I’m happy that he’s gone.”