someone who has failed dismally, Stuart Baxter does have a lot t say.
in all his utterances, I still have to hear him take full ownership of the way
things have gone with Bafana Bafana in this, his second stint as South Africa’s
football national coach.
he has pointed fingers at a number of things, including the South African
Football Association (SAFA who happen to be his bosses) and the Premier Soccer
He fell short of calling the SAFA and PSL bosses nincompoops or dimwits
after losing to Senegal in Polokwane when he said: “There is a saying that if you do what you have done
you always get what you always got.”
This, I guess is
based on that genius Albert Einstein’s observation that: "Insanity
is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different
And in a nutshell, Baxter’s quote was his way of telling
SAFA and the PSL that they are actually imbeciles who have been doing one and
the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.
Quite rich coming from him!
To drive his point home, he added this rider: “I don’t think we have
changed our mentality at all since the time I was here before. I hope we can
have more cooperation between the PSL and SAFA.”
Oh! How lovely!
Now I ask, did he
discover this when already on the job or is it a discovery that came once the results
did not go his way. Why did he not point this out before or on taking up the
job as he and already been in this country for a while coaching Kaizer Chiefs
and SuperSport United.
Or even better why
did he fail to do so when he was prancing around like a peacock following a
resounding victory away in Nigeria.
My, wasn’t he cock-a-hoop about how wonderful the team
And when asked whether qualifying the team for the
2018 Soccer World Cup was one of his mandates, Baxter answered: “I don’t think I
have a written one in my contract. My aim was to try to qualify for the World
Cup and AFCON in 2019. No one said if not, pack up and go.”
I actually think Baxter is either being disingenuous
or there is something wrong with the suits at SAFA if they didn’t give or spell
out his mandate to him when giving him the job.
Any student who starts course knows that the ai8m is
to pass. So how do you start a job when there are no measurements for success
I am not going to join the brigade that is shouting
Baxter must go. No! I am not going to stoop that low. That has been done s many
times and we have found ourselves in the same rut.
However, I am going to challenge Baxter that he at
least owes the nation an explanation on what went wrong. SAFA on their end owe
the nation the courtesy of answering the question: What now?
If the way he answered when asked about the number of
people who believed that Bafana Bafana were going to lose their two matches
against Senegal is anything to go by, Baxter is either naive (which I doubt) or
was playing pretty dumb if not arrogant.
His answer was: “Wow! We are on camp and we are going to play two very‚ very
important games and you are highlighting for me that there are people who have
already written us off.
they Zimbabweans‚ Congolese or are they South Africans?
they are from Senegal‚ I don’t know.”
I wonder what he has to say for himself now that that prediction
has proved correct. It will be interesting to see how Baxter rates himself as his
current numbers are not very impressive.
his first turn in charge between 2004-2005 that lasted 611 days, Baxter’s team played 23 matches, won 10, lost seven
and drew six. This translates to an average win rate of 44%.
this current tenure, he has played seven matches, won two, lost five which is a
win percentage of 29%. Combined, these numbers give a total of 30 matches
played, 12 won, 12 lost and six drawn - translating to a win percentage of 40%.
You be the judge!
Baxter will do himself a huge favour by stopping to
blame everyone and outside forces take ownership and tell us what his plan is
SAFA as mentioned above should also take a leadership
role as the custodians of football in this country and give direction on how we
get out of this quagmire.
At least they owe us that much.
S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading
sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of
the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently
City Press Sports Editor.
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