Baxter reflects on SA’s disappointing qualifying campaign – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Scent ition

Thursday Nov 16, 2017. 15:00

South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter has reflected on Bafana Bafana’s disappointing FIFA 2018 World Cup campaign which ended with a 2-1 away defeat to Senegal on Tuesday night.

The British tactician admitted the World Cup qualifiers was a difficult campaign adding it is not easy to come in and impose your philosophy there and then and put across your ideas. This is something which is a process and takes time when speaking to the SAFA website.

“The replay against Senegal, a match South Africa had won, didn’t help for the mental part of the game. However, looking back, I think our biggest shortcoming, which has been the country’s perennial problem, has been scoring goals,” he said.

“We need to understand what win games; it is something I have been trying to put across to the players as part of my philosophy.

The trainer however said in trying to inculcate the winning mentality, it was important not to compromise the South African tradition of doing things.

“We need to maintain our philosophy and that is flamboyance and attacking football,” he continued.

The former Kaizer Chiefs coach said while results at most times were disappointing,Bafana showed if the team gets the balance right between efficiency and flamboyance, they can mix with the best there is.

“But we are not consistent enough; we need to produce that type of football on regular basis to stay on top,” he stressed.

The experienced tactician said most of that was caused by lack of scoring prowess but was something he would work on although results cannot be achieved overnight.

“We need to challenge for top slots. We have shown it against top opposition; we have dominated them for long periods with some good football but failed to finish them off. What we need is to be more professional and continue to develop our own type of football that reflects the culture of South Africa,” he explained.

The former SuperSport United coach added that he would like to thank South African supporters whose love for the national team was unquestionable.

“They (fans) play an important role in the development of the game and we hope they continue to be part of this process. They are the most important stakeholder of the game,” Baxter concluded.

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Stuart Baxter: Bafana Bafana not far from being a top class team – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Bertin Basson

Saturday Nov 11, 2017. 16:00

Stuart Baxter believes that South Africa were unlucky in suffering a 2-0 defeat to Senegal in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Friday evening.

Bafana Bafana dominated most of the encounter, but lacked a killer edge as two moments of brilliance from Sadio Mané inspired the Lions of Teranga to victory.

South Africa forced themselves back into contention for World Cup qualification following a 3-1 win over Burkina Faso, but successive defeats to Cape Verde proved decisive as Senegal duly booked their return to the world stage.

“Difficult for the whole squad and for the whole country,” Baxter told SuperSport TV. “We dragged ourselves back into contention after two poor performances against Cape Verde…

“I think the performance in the first half – it was amazing that we went into the break two goals down because I thought we were better than them. I thought we were better than them in every department despite the fact that we didn’t have one world class act that could conjure something from nothing.

“We had to work for everything and we missed a lot of chances.

Baxter continued: “Second half we had to push for everything, they could sit and I still thought we created more than they did, but all that talk doesn’t mean anything. They beat us 2-0 and they go to Russia.

All considered, the South African head coach is adamant that Bafana Bafana are not far off the best from the African continent.

“The fact that we had more possession doesn’t impress me at all – we didn’t finish, we had big chances that we couldn’t convert.

“We are not far away from a top class team, but we have to take our chances – maybe that is the problem, a South Africa problem as well,” Baxter concluded.

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South Africa should be worried about no-shows – Stuart Baxter – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 14:00

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter says he will soldier on with his job regardless of which players are available, but believes the country should be worried by no-shows.

Thulani Serero has made headlines by refusing to fly out for Bafana Bafana’s 2018 World Cup qualifier at home to Senegal on Friday evening. The midfielder insists that he will only travel for national team duty if he is guaranteed to play.

Tokelo Rantie is another absentee for the clash, though he at least requested that he not be selected for the squad. Baxter says South African football should be worried by such instances.

“If it’s a trend, then South Africa should be worried, not me,” Baxter said.

“I will pick the players who want to play for South Africa, but if it’s a trend then you should be worried because these are the people who represent the mentality of South Africans.

“I don’t think they represent the mentality of the boys who are here [in camp]. But at the end of the day, Jack Wilshere did not throw in the towel in England and [Sergio] Busquets does not complain when he gets left out [of the Spain squad].”

He continued: “The honour is about being called into the squad and then it’s up to you to show that you are the best man for the job.

“When people see the honour as actually playing and not being in the squad, then that’s a problem because that’s the ego talking and that’s not good.

“I am not going to criticise anybody because it’s everybody’s right to feel the way they want.

“But if it’s a trend that players only come to national camp when they selected, it’s a worry for everybody, not just for the coach.”

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SA coach Stuart Baxter: ‘Tower’ back to his normal self – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Nov 07, 2017. 13:30

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter says that defender Erick ‘Tower’ Mathoho is “back to his normal self” after a spell of poor form.

The Kaizer Chiefs defender endured a difficult September and October, highlighted by back-to-back red cards for club and country.

However, ‘Tower’, who worked with Baxter at Kaizer Chiefs, is back in contention to start Bafana Bafana’s crunch 2018 World Cup qualifier against Senegal on Friday night.

“‘Tower’ has been progressing. I think ‘Tower’ had a patch where he was a little bit unsure of himself. Maybe he was thinking too much about things that were happening around him, [but] I think he has been progressing nicely to get back to his normal self,” Baxter said in regards to the defender, as quoted by Kick-Off.

Mathoho’s progress gives Baxter a difficult decision to make in regards to central defence, where Thulani Hlatshwayo is an injury doubt but the duo of Clayton Daniels and Morgan Gould performed strongly in a 3-1 win over Burkina Faso last month.

“I wish I had headaches like that all over the field. Morgan and Clayton did well against Burkina Faso. They know each other very well. So we are going to look at all the options and the combinations and we will pick the squad that we think will be most unpleasant to play against,” said the Bafana coach.

SA will host Senegal in Polokwane on Friday, before playing the return match in Dakar next week Tuesday.

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Baxter: SA need to play smart against Senegal – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Nov 06, 2017. 11:00

South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter says his charges will have to play smart against Senegal.

The two African sides will lock horns in back-to-back 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers later this month.

Senegal and South Africa are the only sides with a game in hand in Group D ahead of the final round.

Nicknamed the Lions of Teranga, Senegal are sitting at the top of group standings, while fourth-placed South Africa can only qualify for the finals if they win both games.

“We will have to pick our way through them,” Baxter told the South African media.

“They have some fine defenders and have some midfielders that can press the ball and they have front players who can do stuff on their own,” the British tactician said.

“Our movement has to move their defenders around. to unbalance them will be really, really important.”

The Lions of Teranga will qualify if they overcome Bafana Bafana in the first match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa on Friday, 10 November 2017.

The return leg clash is scheduled to take place at the Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in the capital city of Senegal, Dakar on Tuesday, 14 November 2017.

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Komphela: SA coach Baxter has special duty for Tshabalala – ABSA Premiership 2017/18 – Kaizer Chiefs

Siphiwe Tshabalala of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Innocent Maela of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on 21 October 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Oct 31, 2017. 11:00

Kaizer Chiefs mentor Steve Komphela says South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has a special duty lined up for Siphiwe ‘Shabba’ Tshabalala.

Tshabalala, 33, received a surprise call-up when the Bafana Bafana squad to face Senegal in the Fifa 2018 World Cup qualifiers next week was announced.

Bafana will qualify for the World Cup finals if they beat the Lions of Teranga both home and away.

On Saturday, Tshabalala inspired Chiefs to a 3-0 win over AmaZulu FC in a Telkom Knockout Cup Last 16 match in Durban.

“Maybe I’m not qualified to make a comment about Shabba,” said Komphela on The Citizen.

“But one thing is that he has worked with Stuart. Stuart is very smart coach and knows what he wants from Shabba otherwise he would not have picked him.

“Stuart said it some time ago that Shabba is a very influential player in the PSL and if Stuart says that today (Saturday) (AmaZulu head coach) Cavin Johnson says Shabba was the main threat. That tells you about the player he is,” the Chiefs coach added.

“His personality and character make him a big player.”

The veteran midfielder has 88 South Africa caps and scored 12 goals between 2006, and 2015.

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South African coach Stuart Baxter happy with Thulani Serero’s progress – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Thulani Serero of South Africa celebrates his goal during 2018 World Cup Qualifiers match between South Africa and Senegal at Peter Mokab Stadium, November on the 12 November 2016 © Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sunday Oct 29, 2017. 12:00

Ahead of the Burkina Faso clash next month, South African national team coach Stuart Baxter says he is happy with midfielder Thulani Serero’s progress.

The midfielder has showed good signs at his club Vitesse Arnhem and the English mentor believes he is in a good shape physically.

Serero bagged the Player of the Month for August and September in the Dutch Eredivisie.

The news comes as a huge boost as the South Africans will host the Lions of Teranga and visit Dakar in their two crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

“I think he is now in better shape physically,” Baxter said.

“And hopefully he knows better how we want him to play, in different positions. If he comes to camp and shows me that, then he will be a strong candidate.

“It is nice to have that sort of player, and that is what I am trying to do. If we have Plan A, then we also need a couple of ‘what if?’ scenarios.

“A player like Serero is a pretty powerful ‘what if?’ option. I would think every player that is in Europe wants to come (to camp) to start with.

“But if I think there is a player better than them on that day and more suitable for the job, then I will play them. We don’t bring back European players to take photos and enquire about their health. It’s to do a job.”

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Jomo Sono backs South Africa coach Stuart Baxter – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Saturday Oct 14, 2017. 11:00

South African football legend Jomo Sono has backed Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter.

Sono, who has had multiple spells in charge of the country’s national team, believes Baxter should remain in charge of Bafana Bafana even if they don’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

SA will only book a place at Russia 2018 if they win back-to-back matches against Senegal next month – a tall order, but not an impossible task.

Yet should Bafana fall short, it will be a third successive failed World Cup qualification campaign (SA played in the 2010 tournament as hosts) and there would definitely be calls for Baxter to lose his job.

This is not something Sono agrees with, arguing that the Englishman should be given time to build a team.

“Baxter is not a bad choice. He is a good choice for the country because he knows the players,” said Sono, as quoted by Kick-Off.

“They should give him a chance to do what he wants to do. They must not look at Baxter to lose one game and let him go.

“They should leave him there to come for second time. Leave him, give him time, there is another World Cup coming.

“If we don’t qualify for this one. Give him chance to fight to get to the next one and he will do it. He is capable of doing it and he is a good coach.”

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Percy is a talented player – Stuart Baxter – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Oct 10, 2017. 10:30

South African national team coach Stuart Baxter has praised Percy Tau after helping the team beat Burkina Faso on Saturday.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts claimed a 3-1 win over the Burkinabe with goals coming from Tau, Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi.

After the match, Baxter had good things to say about the Mamelodi Sundowns man but warned that the player must remain grounded.

“I think that (Tokelo) Rantie had done a good job (in recent years). His last performance was very poor, he wasn’t playing enough (at club level) so Percy became a natural choice,” Baxter said to

“I think Percy is a talented player, he’s certainly going to grow and has more to come.

“But at the same time I’m a bit loathed to start – on the back of one performance – bring Percy up onto a pedestal.

“He’s got a lot of work to do, he’s a great lad, he wants to learn and I think he will get better.

“Again, I don’t want to (praise him too much) on the back of one performance, because I think we tend to do that a little too much – not you (media), but we in football do that too much.

“He’s on the right track. When I was younger someone said to me, ‘you’re on the right track son, but keep going otherwise you’ll get hit by a train.’ That’s about where Percy is now – keep going Percy!”

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SA’s Stuart Baxter – 2018 fate is in our own hands – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 09, 2017. 20:00

South Africa’s 2018 World Cup qualifying fate is in their own hands, much to the relief of coach Stuart Baxter.

Bafana Bafana defeated Burkina Faso 3-1 in Johannesburg on Saturday to revive their hopes of going to Russia 2018.

They were further boosted by news of a win for Senegal away to Cape Verde later in the day, with the combination of results meaning that the back-to-back matches between Bafana and the Teranga Lions next month will be decisive.

South Africa will first host Senegal in Polokwane on November 10 in a replay of the match from last year which was annulled by FIFA, before taking on the Teranga Lions in Dakar four days later.

While Senegal need only one win or two draws from the matches to guarantee top spot, South Africa must win them both.

It’s a tall order to beat one of Africa’s top teams two times in quick succession, but Baxter is just happy that his side’s fate is in their own control.

“Senegal’s victory over Cape Verde has tilted the scale slightly in our favour and now we are still very much alive in the qualifiers,” said Baxter, as quoted by Kick-Off.

“I have been saying we have to live in the here and now, what happens in the other match is not our concern.

“We have to win the remaining matches and we are off to Russia, anything less we know we are out – because with six points each, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde can only get to nine points, while two wins for us will take us to ten points, so it is very much in our hands.”

Baxter added, “If we thought the clash against Burkina Faso was a World Cup final, the two matches against Senegal are way more than that.

“We need to continue from where we left off against the Burkinabe and if we can have the same aggression and attitude when we face Senegal, then we are very close to realising our dream.

“There’s no doubt in my mind or the players’ that it will be a difficult match but it is very much possible to get positive results, and we have to continue to believe.

“We would like to thank the fans for the support at FNB Stadium, and we are confident they will do so again in Polokwane.”

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South Africans can be proud, says Stuart Baxter – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Percy Tau of South Africa (second right) celebrates goal with Bongani Zungu of South Africa during the 2018 World Cup qualifier football match between South Africa and Burkina Faso at Soccer City, Johannesburg on 07 October 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Oct 08, 2017. 10:00

South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter says his players can be proud following their performance against Burkina Faso on Saturday afternoon.

Bafana Bafana secured a 3-1 win over Burkina Faso in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group D match at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

“With the knife at the throat, the players gave a magnificent performance. It’s not easy, people have given them a lot of criticism, some warranted, some over the top,” Baxter told the media after the match.

“I think that performance in that situation speaks volumes for South African football. I think we got a nice balance between defending doggedly and expressing yourself in the last third, especially when movement, pace and trickery was bamboozling them.”

Goals from Percy Tau, Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi inspired Bafana to victory over the Stallions, who grabbed a consolation goal through Alain Traore.

“We certainly don’t want showboating. We want our skill, our technique, our ideas to hurt our opponent,” the British tactician added.

“A couple of times late on in the game, we didn’t manage the game very well because we tried that and we were down to 10 men, and it’s about keeping the ball and not risking it, but that’s okay, we’ll learn from that.

“In terms of expressing yourself, it’s putting yourself into a mental frame of mind that you want to play and they wanted to play,” he continued.

“They were thinking about what they were doing on the field and not thinking about stuff that is being written or the next two games, it was here and now, and I just felt it in the dressing room that the game-plan was simple and clear. The lads did their best, not always perfect and the total performance, I don’t say this very often but South Africa can be proud.”

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Baxter: South Africa players are lacking confidence – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Oct 03, 2017. 14:00

South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter says they need to motivate the team before they take on Burkina Faso on Saturday.

Bafana Bafana suffered two back-to-back defeats to Cape Verde in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification Group D matches last month.

As a result, South Africa are placed fourth on the group standings – with FIFA having also ordered a replay of their match with Senegal.

Bafana will take on Burkina Faso at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg this weekend, before facing Senegal home and away in the last two Group D matches next month.

“The biggest problem for the players will have in this camp is that they have under-achieved in these two past games against Cape Verde. We have been massively criticized but now we have to move on and believe,” Baxter said.

“We have to address the issue of self-confidence, self-image, self-esteem – all those selves, and if we can’t do that we won’t give a performance against Burkina Faso, and if that happens then we won’t win. That’s where my focus is at the moment because this is a massive game.

“We have to go out there and rectify things, but without confidence I don’t think we can to that. They are the best team in the group, they were very competitive against Senegal – in fact they were closer to winning than Senegal was,” the British tactician added.

“They are a powerful team, they are physical, they have certain players with very good qualities and we have to shut that down. So when you don’t perform the way you want to perform, the first thing that goes is confidence.

“So we will need people who will work hard, that are brave and believe that we have a chance. The performance has to give us hope that things are getting better, that’s the challenge the players have despite all the injuries – they have to stand up now.”

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Stuart Baxter explains on why he selected Erick Mathoho – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Andile Jali, Thulani Hlatshwayoand Erick Mathoho during the South Africa Senior Men Team Morning © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Sep 22, 2017. 12:00

Although he was red carded in their match against Cape Verde early this month, South African defender Erick Mathoho has been included in the squad to face Burkina Faso in October.

After announcing his squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Burkinabe, coach Stuart Baxter has revealed his reasons behind the lanky defender’s inclusion.

Baxter said the towering the Kaizer Chiefs defender was banned for one game and they have appealed to FIFA, but the decision is set to be reviewed on September 28.

“Erick Mathoho has got a one-match ban, which will be reviewed by FIFA on September 28,” explained Baxter.

“We’re selecting him because we think that it’s the correct thing to do.

“If at the time FIFA award him another game then we will bring in a replacement, but at the moment we’re selecting him in the squad.”

South Africa will be hosting the Stallions in the return leg at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday, October 7.

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Stuart Baxter rubbishes claims of SuperSport bias – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Stuart Baxter, former coach of Supersport United ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Monday Sep 04, 2017. 19:00

Stuart Baxter has rubbished claims that he is biased toward SuperSport United players in his team selection for South Africa.

The current Bafana Bafana squad boasts no less than six United players – Ronwen Williams, Reyaad Pieterse, Clayton Daniels, Morgan Gould, Dean Furman and Bradley Grobler – all of whom worked under Baxter in his time with the Tshwane club (early 2015 to midway through this year).

In addition, Baxter also invited SuperSport goalkeeper coach Andre Arendse to serve on the technical team in the absence of Alex Heredia.

There has been a suggestion that Baxter relies too heavily on his former club’s players, with this criticism growing in intensity following a 2-1 defeat away to Cape Verde Islands on Saturday night.

However, the coach has shrugged off any suggestion that he unduly favours SuperSport players and has explained the reasoning behind his selection.

“Alex Heredia, at short notice, went to Philadelphia and Andre is the one we pulled in because he is local, close to the camp and he knows what I want,” Baxter is quoted by IOL.

“And also, when you’ve got Reyaad and Ronwen, they are comfortable with him and we were going into a high-pressure situation.

“There is a logic there – it’s not just selection with heartstrings. I wouldn’t work like that, in terms of favours or picking with your previous loyalties.

“There is that and there is the centre-backs. Unfortunately we had to withdraw Rivaldo [Coetzee].

“When you can get someone local that is great because he can attach himself to the camp quickly, then he’s got to know what you want, and Clayton does.

“And then with set plays we don’t have to do a lot of work, players don’t have to go in like a rabbit in the headlights when you get bombarded with set-plays in the last minute.”

Baxter added, “As I have said, I don’t make those decisions based on emotions. I make those in my opinion, and if there are people with a different opinion, that is football. And that is probably the beauty of football.

“And I want people to know that I make those on facts and not fiction.”

South Africa will host Cape Verde for the return match in Durban on Tuesday evening.

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We won’t underestimate Cape Verde – SA coach Baxter – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Aug 30, 2017. 09:00

South Africa will not make the mistake of underestimating Cape Verde Islands, according to coach Stuart Baxter.

The teams will meet in back-to-back 2018 World Cup qualifiers on September 1 in Praia and September 5 in Durban.

Bafana are currently joint top of Group D alongside Burkina Faso, while the Blue Sharks are bottom of the log after suffering two defeats.

“My father said to me ‘Always beware the man that has nothing to lose’. So they have got nothing to lose‚” Baxter said in regards to Cape Verde’s team.

“I think we have got to go there with the same attitude. They can play the way they want.

“If we play well then I think we have got a chance of getting a good result. So we’ve got to make sure that our mentality is tight.

“We want to be a team‚ we want to make sure that everybody puts in 100 percent.

“We want to be able to express ourselves in the right way‚ have that feeling of no regrets and no anxiety.

“We are just looking forward to the game and quieten down all the other chit-chat that may have made us complacent‚ that may have made us nervous. Quieten that down and just get to the place.”

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Baxter: Why SA can beat Chipolopolo in Zambia – 2018 CHAN Qualifiers

SA coach Stuart Baxter directs his players

Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Aug 14, 2017. 18:00

South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter believes that they can beat Zambia away following their 2-2 draw at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London on Saturday.

Gift Motupa and Mario Booysen both netted for the home side in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier first-leg clash.

“The boys played well and made the most of what they got and I think at 2-0 up I couldn’t see a way back for Zambia because they weren’t creating chances. 2-1 came out of the blue as I thought we were dangerous on the breaks as they were on attack, it really came as a damp squib,” Baxter told

“I thought, do I change things a bit, do I lock up? And then Tercious gets sent off so I can’t lock up, instead I have to go 4-4-1. And then comes the last throw in, and the last kick of match the ball ends up in the back of our net.

“I don’t think the boys threw it away, but they were just unlucky. The way they battled for their jersey was very admirable and this tie is certainly far from over. I don’t now how much more Zambia has got because they played that way against us the last time we met, and I think they will play that way again when we meet,” the Englishman added.

Bafana Bafana will now face Chipolopolo in the second-leg game in Ndola, Zambia on Saturday, 19 August 2017. The winner on aggregate will qualify for next year’s CHAN finals in Kenya.

“It’s not a great result, giving away two goals at home means they can get through on 0-0, or even 1-1. The hype before the game was that we had no chance, they are a strong side – well they certainly didn’t do that and now we are going to their place and they know that we can play them,” Baxter stressed.

“I know as a coach that it’s a difficult one for them – do they go for nil-nil or 1-1 or have a full go at us, and if they opt for the latter we can beat them on the transition then it’s 1-0 and they are shaking. So it is not easy even for them.

“What seems to them as a good result at the moment, the closer you get to the game, the more reality sinks in and they ask themselves what if they score?”

Baxter was, however, impressed with the performance of his players despite the result, although some things will have to fixed,” he explained.

“I just think our general play should have been better and we should have put one of our chances away but I think the boys did as well as anybody could expect. Gift was outstanding, he ran their backline ragged, a couple of the young ones too – Meyiwa came in when Khumalo got injured and he did a great job.

“The captain Mario (Booysen) and Sandile (Mthethwa) were solid. They all should get a pat on the back for that. Now they will have to lick their wounds, sharpen their swords, fasten their seatbelts and go to Zambia and get a result – and that is not impossible. I am confident Zambia will have a tough game and they know it.”

According to the SAFA website the Bafana squad is set to lose players who are returning to their clubs – and won’t be part of the second leg fixture – Menzi Masuku (Chippa United), Shane Thompson (Mthatha Bucks), Tshepo Mabua, Keegan Pool (both Stellenbosch FC) and Gift Motupa (Baroka FC).

Tercious Malepe is not eligible to play as he was red-carded against Zambia in the first leg while Asavela Mbekile has a family bereavement.

“Maybe Kumalo can’t play too because of his injury, which we are monitoring, so it’s going to be mission impossible again – but then again it was mission impossible today and they nearly pulled it off. Let’s rather talk about the players that will stay because they will have to do the job for us,” Baxter concluded.

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Stuart Baxter names Bafana squad to face Zambia – 2018 CHAN Qualifiers

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Aug 01, 2017. 13:00

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has already began with preparations for their 2018 CAF African Nations Championship qualifier against Zambia.

The South Africans are aware that they have to beat the Chipolopolo in the third round of the qualifiers.

The two Southern African giants will meet in the first leg clash of the third and final round which will take place on Saturday, 12 August 2017 at a venue still to be announced.

Kaizer Chiefs goal minder Bruce Bvuma, who was in the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup squad, returns after missing out on the two-legged qualifier against Botswana.


In defence, Malebogo Modise and Junaid Sait make way for Supersport United‘s Denwin Farmer and Ayabulela Konqobe of Amazulu.

Supersport United midfielder, Teboho Mokoena returns to the side after he was withdrawn before the second leg of the the Zebras tie at Moruleng Stadium.

Bafana are set to go into camp on Sunday, 6 August 2017 and the return leg will be played in Zambia on the weekend of 18-20 August 2017.


Boalefa Pule, Steven Hoffman, Bruce Bvuma


Siyabonga Nhlapo, Sphiwe Mnguni, Sandile Mthethwa, Tercious Malepe, Mothobi Mvala, Mario Booysen, Denwin Farmer, Ayabulela Konqobe


Cole Alexander, Tebogo Mokoena, Sipho Mbule, Sibusiso Khumalo, Tshegofatso Mabaso, Dumisani Zuma, Michael Morton, Riyaad Norodien, Siphelele Ntshangase


Bongi Ntuli, Masilakhe Phohlongo, Ryan Moon, Gift Motupa

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Brockie backs South Africa coach Baxter – ABSA Premiership 2016/17

Stuart Baxter, coach of South Africa

Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Jul 24, 2017. 18:00

SuperSport United marksman Jeremy Brockie says South Africa can do dominate African football under the guidance of head coach Stuart Baxter.

The 29-year-old player worked with British tactician Baxter at South African side United where they won two Nedbank Cup trophies.

The Zealand international believes that his former coach Baxter can turn Bafana Bafana into a force to be reckoned with in Africa.

Baxter, who was appointed in May, 2017, guided Bafana to a historic victory over Nigeria in the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier last month.

“First and foremost, having won a hatful of trophies at domestic level in South Africa, I believe he will have more backing from the supporters and increased buy-in from the players,” Brockie told Kick Off Magazine.

“The obvious difference between managing a club, as opposed to a national side, is that Baxter doesn’t have as much time to work with the Bafana players on the training pitch.

“However, he knows the players better than before and is aware of how South African football works as a whole. The 2-0 away win over Nigeria in June was a massive boost and a great first up result for him,” he added.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Baxter and his charges build on the victory against Nigeria and, sooner than later, I’m pretty sure those types of results will be the norm rather than the exception.”

Baxter, 63, is in his second stint with Bafana having coached the national team between 2004 and 2005. He quit this role after failing to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

He masterminded Bafana’s recent 3-0 aggregate win over Botswana in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier and they will now face Zambia in the next round.

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Baxter now able to pour all his energies on the SA job

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Jun 27, 2017. 16:00

South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter says it was always going to be difficult to put together a team for the 2017 COSAFA Cup in North West.

Bafana Bafana will take on the Group A winners on Sunday at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.

“It is a fact that this tournament does not fall under the FIFA Calendar date, so it was always going to be a struggle to put together a team,” Baxter said.

“But we have say a big thank you to all the clubs who were able to assist us in putting together this group of players. The cooperation we got from the clubs was very positive and inspiring and we really appreciate that,” he added.

The English tactician recently guided SuperSport United to the 2017 Nedbank Cup and he has since parted ways with the club.

“It’s a good thing that I am now able to focus all my attention on the national team and don’t have to keep on swopping hats and uniforms to service this or the other project. Now I am able to pour all my energies on this one job and make the best of it.

South Africa are scheduled to take on Botswana in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier next month.

“I have to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been supporting me throughout and I hope that support continues because we have a very important period ahead of us in the national team,” he stressed.

“First up is the COSAFA CUP, then the CHAN tournament, followed by World Cup qualifiers and early next year we play the AFCON qualifiers – so we going to need all the support we can get.”

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Letsholonyane says Baxter believed in him and that is why he succeeded – ABSA Premiership 2016/17

Reneilwe Letsholonyane of Supersport United evades a tackle from Willard Katsande of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership match between Supersport United and Kaizer Chiefs on 29 April 2017 at Mbombela Stadium ©Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Jun 27, 2017. 13:30

Just after leaving Kaizer Chiefs at the end of the 2015/16 Premier Soccer League season and joining SuperSport United, midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane thought his best playing days might be behind him but coach Stuart Baxter believed in him.

‘Yeye’ was key for the Soweto giants having spent eight seasons at the club, winning a number of trophies at Naturena before departing for SuperSport

His departure led some in football circles arguing that he had reached his best on the field of play.

However, after commanding a regular place at United under his former Chiefs mentor in Baxter, the former Jomo Cosmos player helped the Tshwane side to a successful Nedbank Cup defence last weekend.

United defeated Orlando Pirates 4-1 in the final at Moses Mabhida Stadium and are currently campaigning in the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup.

“When I first came to SuperSport, I said I wanted to win stuff, I wanted to contribute to the team’s success and in saying that, I’m not someone who’s stressed about the age, about the performance or anything,” said Letsholonyane to

“I knew that I’m still capable of competing at a high level and I knew that I still have a few years to run in my legs.

“So for me it’s a plus having a coach that believed in you irrespective of your age but believed in your talent, in your craft – so Stuart Baxter was one coach that believed in me and I took an opportunity to join SuperSport United.

“Maybe from outside you saw them as poor, but I can say what made us have the advantage is we have been playing competitive football.

“We have been playing CAF Confederation Cup week-in and week-out. We played one of the biggest teams on the continent in TP Mazembe three days before the final and Pirates have over the month just been training without competitive games, so it showed out there.”

United will now turn their focus to Guinea side Horoya AC in their fifth Group D CAF Confed Cup match in Conakry on Saturday, 01 July.

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Stuart Baxter praises brave Nedbank Cup champions – 2017 Nedbank Cup

Bradley Grobler of Supersport United challenged by Patrick Phungwayo of Orlando Pirates during the 2017 Nedbank Cup Final match between Supersport United and Orlando Pirates at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban South Africa on 24 June 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sunday Jun 25, 2017. 12:00

In the wake of their 4-1 drubbing of Orlando Pirates on Saturday night during the Nedbank Cup final, outgoing SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter has praised his troops.

The English manager led the Ke Yona champions for the last time as he will now permanently take charge of the South African national team, Bafana Bafana.

United went into the encounter hoping to defend their trophy and goals from Bradley Grobler (brace), Jeremy Brockie and Kingston Nkhatha gave them the trophy.

Speaking after the match, Baxter said his men displayed good football at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium.

“The lads gave a fantastic performance,” Baxter said.

“The first half was what we expected it to be, it was a bit cut-and-thrust. But once we got ourselves in front we were comfortable with the game-plan.

“Dare I say it could have run away to five or six [goals], and then we give up a penalty at the finish. I will try not to let that spoil my evening!

“We knew the way that games are when you play Pirates, there are individual skills that you have to negate, but what makes them strong also makes them weak at times.

“We needed to utilise that better and we changed a couple of things at halftime. Once we got ourselves in front, it became more and more obvious they were going to struggle because the more they opened, the more we hurt them.

“I thought the players were marvellous, their tactical awareness, to run the game in a cup final like they did, it was so cold, so clinical.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the team, the supporters and the football club. For me it’s a trophy and it’s nice on my CV.

“I like winning, so obviously I want to win trophies. I can’t thank the players or the football club enough.

“I am really proud to be the Bafana coach, I want to do as well as I can there, hopefully we will follow up the Nigeria result with a period of development where everybody gets on board and we see a clear South African way forward.”

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Stuart Baxter rues TP Mazembe draw in Confed Cup – 2017 CAF Confederation Cup

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Jun 23, 2017. 09:00

In the wake of their 0-0 draw against TP Mazembe on Tuesday, SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter has expressed disappointment in failing to win.

The English manager led the Tshwane giants in their CAF Confederation Cup tie at Lucas Moripe Stadium, but believes they should have wrapped up the match with a win.

In his last match in charge of the club, Baxter will now prepare to face Orlando Pirates in their Nedbank Cup final in South Africa on Saturday.

This follows his appointment as Bafana Bafana coach to replace axed Shakes Mashaba in May.

“We played against one of the premier clubs on the continent. I was disappointed at the finish that we did not beat them. We were well on top,” said Baxter.

“When we started off [in the Confederation Cup], we were going to places like Liberia and Sudan. We were getting decent results [away from home] and then we were winning at home.

“Now we went there [Lubumbashi] to get a 2-2 draw and we get a draw at home.

“The lads were feeling that we should have knocked them over. It’s a good indicator for the club in general.”

In their next Confed Cup match, United will visit Horoya AC in Guinea, Conakry on July 1 before wrapping up their group stage assignments against CF Mounana in Atteridgeville seven days later.

United sit at number two in Group D with six points behind Horoya who lead with eight points from four rounds of matches.

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Stuart Baxter eyeing Bafana legends as assistant coaches

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Jun 17, 2017. 10:00

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says he would like to rope in former national team players to join his technical team as assistant coaches.

Local reports indicate that the coach has dropped a hint regarding those who will help him in the national side.

Names such as ex-striker Shaun Bartlett and midfielder Quinton Fortune have been mentioned as examples.

Although U20 and U17 coaches, Thabo Senong and Molefi Ntseki helped Baxter as he faced Nigeria and Zambia in the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier and in a friendly, he is likely to rope in one former Bafana player to join Senong.

“The technical team that we’ve had with us now (for Nigeria and Zambia) has been great. We just need to make sure that it can be permanent and that is fits in with what else we’re doing,” said Baxter.

“I still think there is room for an ex-player who’s embarked on his career as a coach – like a Shaun Bartlett‚ like Benni McCarthy‚ like a Quinton Fortune‚ Aaron Mokoena.

“Get those people involved at some level within the technical team. I’m not saying that they’ve all got to be assistants but get them involved.”

Bartlett is not new to coaching as he led Golden Arrows to promotion from the National First Division to the Premier Soccer League in the 2014/15 season and served as Owen Da Gama’s U23 assistant during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

On the other hand, Fortune has also been working on the touchline after completing his coaching badges as well as assisting former Manchester United teammate, Ole Gunnar-Solskjaer with Cardiff City’s U-21s.

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Stuart Baxter focusing on COSAFA Cup with South Africa

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Jun 16, 2017. 15:00

Following his first two matches as the new national team coach for South Africa, Stuart Baxter says he is now shifting his focus to the upcoming COSAFA Cup.

The 2016 COSAFA champions are set to host this year’s edition in the North West province in Rustenburg from 25 June until 9 July.

Despite bagging a crucial 2-0 win over Nigeria in a 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday, the South Africans lost 2-1 to Zambia in a friendly this past Tuesday.

Baxter has said that he would be using the bulk of the SA Under-20 squad that played in the 2017 FIFA World Youth Cup in South Korea for the regional showpiece.

“We want to win every game. But the loss to Zambia is not a train smash. I changed the entire side from the XI that started against Nigeria, as friendlies are for development,” said Baxter to the media.

“I’m a lot wiser after the first week in camp and the fact that I was able to give all 25 players game-time during the two matches was a goal we achieved. It gave me a chance to look at everyone in camp.

“I will try and get some experienced overseas based players to balance the squad. But as this is an off-season tournament it won’t be easy. At the same time I don’t want to give away Bafana caps.”

Bafana are set to play their first match against the Group A winners on 2 July. Group A consists of Tanzania, Malawi and Mauritius.

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Baxter: SA completely outplayed the favourites Nigeria – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Jun 12, 2017. 14:00

South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter says his completely outplayed their rivals Nigeria in their highly anticipated encounter on Saturday.

Bafana Bafana stunned the Super Eagles 2-0 in their first 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification Group E match in Uyo, Nigeria.

This was South Africa’s first ever competitive victory over Nigeria, who were under the guidance of German tactician Gernot Rohr.

“I have received countless messages of congratulations mostly from back home in South Africa,” Baxter told the media.

“They are still trickling it and it goes to show what this win means for the country.

“It is the way the victory was achieved which has been so emotional,” the British tactician continued.

“The long trip to West Africa, the short preparation period and then go into the match and completely outplay the home favourites is something special.

“What really surprised me was the quality of performance, and of course the fantastic result. I am delighted with this win, it is a satisfactory result,” he added.

“The good thing with such wins is they give hope for the future and we should build something special from here on.

“This can be a catalyst for great things to come.”

Bafana will now take on Zambia in an international friendly match at the Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa on Tuesday.

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