Bafana coach Stuart Baxter plays blame game

Motjeka Madisha, right, is challenged by Madagascar's Marcio Ravelomanantsoa during their Cosafa quarterfinal match at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday. Madagascar won on penalties to condemn SA to a Plate semifinal taking place today against Namibia.
Motjeka Madisha, right, is challenged by Madagascar's Marcio Ravelomanantsoa during their Cosafa quarterfinal match at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday. Madagascar won on penalties to condemn SA to a Plate semifinal taking place today against Namibia.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Nervousness from a young combination who had never played together resulted in Bafana Bafana not always playing to instruction.

This led to their penalties' defeat against Madagascar in the Cosafa Cup at Peter Mokaba Stadium at the weekend, according to coach Stuart Baxter.

The defeat sees the hosts drop to the Plate, where they meet Namibia in that section's semifinal at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium today (5pm).

The coach's developmental squad created three clear chances in the first half, which they spurned, then only managed one in the second half - with Maphosa Modiba hitting the post.

When asked about the positives and negatives of the game, Baxter said: "The positive part, I think, is that when we played the way we discussed, I thought we did well.

"When we played through them quickly, when we didn't take too long to build up and we allow them to get set, and we threatened in-between and behind their defenders, I thought we looked OK, and we created chances.

"But when we overplayed, when we played too slowly, when players weren't in position quickly enough, then Madagascar could move and keep in a bloc, and it makes it very difficult to pick your way through.

"Is it fair to say that a group who have been together for five or six days should do all of that all of the time? Maybe that's unfair of me."

He said given that he had brought a young team to Cosafa with the aim of introducing and developing them at international level, there was still much to be gained from the tournament.

"The international experience that we want to give this young team doesn't change if you are playing against Madagascar or Namibia [in the Plate]," he said. "Of course, we would rather have been playing in the main trophy. So we'll just keep on working."

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