After final whilst blew on Saturday night’s game, and it was confirmed that Stuart Baxter and his Bafana Bafana side did what most thought they couldn’t do, Black Twitter erupted…
Even the President got involved but he included a picture of the wrong national team in his Tweet. Fire the person who handles your social media Mr President*
For those of you who have been living under a rock or have been in a coma for the past five days, Bafana Bafana beat hosts Egypt 1-0 to advance to the AFCON quarterfinals.
This result came as a shock to many sane people. In an article posted on my friend’s Ben Karpinski’s website before the game, I predicted a Bafana Bafana loss. Who could blame me? I have two eyes and a brain. I watched Baxter’s Bafana play in the group stage. They were bad. But not bad enough to be eliminated from the tournament. They made it to the last-16 and on Saturday Bafana somehow, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in AFCON history.
The next morning, I jumped back on Twitter expecting to find more celebratory Tweets about Bafana’s win. However, I came across this: #BaxterOut. It was barely 24 hours since their epic victory and South Africans were already back to calling for Baxter’s head.
The Twitter-verse loved that we won the game but were not convinced Stuart Baxter had anything to do with it because:
1. Egypt weren’t in the best of form. (Especially Salah. He played like he was tired or had a stomach bug)
2. Baxter only played Lorch (the Man of the Match who scored the winning goal) because (a) he got pressure from supporters on Twitter and (b) his preferred attacking player Themba Zwane was suspended.
The Counter Argument
South Africa played the best game I have seen them play in a long time. Even though the cases are rare where everything goes South Africa’s way like it did on Saturday, this isn’t the first time Stuart Baxter’s Bafana pulled off an away victory with the odds stacked against them.
1. 2-0 vs. Nigeria
In his first competitive match in his second stint as South African coach, Stuart Baxter and his men went to Uyo and beat Nigeria by 0-2. They also made history by being the first-ever Bafana team to win a competitive game against the Super Eagles.
2. 2-1 vs. Libya
South Africa went into this game only needing a draw to qualify for AFCON 2019. Stuart Baxter’s men went into Stade Taïeb Mhiri in Tunisia and put in practice a near-perfect game plan in a 1-2 win against Libya.
Stuart Baxter hasn’t inspired much confidence in South African supporters.
Say what you like about Baxter, but the guy can implement a strategy and set out his charges to execute it. The only problem is – you can’t scheme for every side. Your team needs to have an identity and a way they play football regardless of their opposition. His game plans are hit and miss. When they are right; they bamboozle the opponent. When he gets it wrong; he often looks confused on the touchline. It also seems as though he has a hard time coming up with a ‘Plan B’ if ‘Plan A’ doesn’t work. I am on the fence on whether I want Baxter to stay or leave. How Bafana Bafana performs from now on in the AFCON will sway my decision.
Do you think Bafana Bafana need a new coach or has their one performance against Egypt convinced you that Baxter is the right man for the job? Comment down below.