AFCON 2019: Baxter Quits As South Africa Coach After Flop

South Africa’s coach Stuart Baxter attends a press conference at the Cairo International stadium in the capital, on July 5, 2019, on the eve of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) top 16 match between Egypt and South Africa. PHOTO: OZAN KOSE / AFP

England-born Stuart Baxter quit on Friday as South Africa coach after a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) campaign in Egypt during June and July.  

“I feel that I cannot continue to work with the required professionalism and passion as I have done,” the 65-year-old told a press conference at a Johannesburg sports club.

Baxter was widely unpopular with the South African public, while the media welcomed his decision to leave a job reportedly worth 490,000 rand ($33,500/30,000 euros) a month.

Reacting recently to constant criticism, Baxter said there were “54 million national coaches in South Africa”, a reference to the 58.7 million population of the country.

Although Bafana Bafana (The Boys) stunned Cup of Nations hosts Egypt in the round of 16, they made a timid exit against Nigeria in the quarter-finals.

They had been even more unimpressive at the group stage, losing to the Ivory Coast and Morocco and struggling to overcome minnows Namibia.

Previously, Baxter had flopped in an 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, losing four of five matches as South Africa finished bottom of a group won by Senegal.

The Wolverhampton-born coach had a first stint coaching South Africa with little success a decade ago, failing to take the country to the 2006 World Cup.

He is the ninth coach to quit or be fired since the Cup of Nations ended on July 19 with Algeria defeating Senegal in the final.

Former Dutch star Clarence Seedorf was the highest-profile casualty with defending champions Cameroon sacking him following a last-16 loss to Nigeria.

Hosts Egypt fired Mexican Javier Aguirre, Namibia dumped Ricardo Mannetti, Guinea ditched Belgian Paul Put and Tanzania dropped Nigerian Emmanuel Amunike after poor campaigns.

French coaches Herve Renard and Sebastien Desabre left Morocco and Uganda respectively and Sunday Chidzambwa quit Zimbabwe.

Renard, the most high profile coach in Africa and the only one to guide two countries to the Cup of Nations title, has been hired by Saudi Arabia.

Desabre, who took Uganda to the knockout phase for the first time since 1978, moved to Egyptian club Pyramids, who will debut in the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup next season.

AFP

AFCON 2019: We Don’t Fear Nigeria, Says South Africa Coach

South Africa’s coach Stuart Baxter attends a press conference at the Cairo International stadium in the capital, on July 5, 2019, on the eve of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) top 16 match between Egypt and South Africa. PHOTO: OZAN KOSE / AFP

 

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter says his team is not afraid of Nigeria’s Super Eagles.

“We’ll be respecting Nigeria but not fearing them. We will have to produce a very good South Africa performance to beat them,” he said.

He also dismissed the assertion from his Nigeria counterpart Gernot Rohr that Bafana Bafana is the favourites heading into Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final showdown.

Baxter’s side shocked tournament hosts Egypt in the last 16 having only scraped through the group stage, but he was quick to temper expectations against a Nigeria team that eliminated defending champions Cameroon in the last round.

“Nigeria are absolutely one of the best teams on the continent and have been for a long time. One game doesn’t make us favourites. I don’t think he’s (Rohr) fooling anybody,” Baxter told reporters Tuesday.

“When we hit a balance between good organisation and getting on the ball and playing with pace and using our natural inherent technique we can give anybody a game.”

The two are teams are familiar opponents as South Africa and Nigeria were paired together in qualifying. Baxter oversaw a 2-0 away win in Uyo at the start of the campaign before a 1-1 draw in Johannesburg.

South Africa’s shock 1-0 defeat of Egypt was played in front of a capacity 75,000 crowd at Cairo International Stadium, and although a much lower attendance is anticipated at the same venue Wednesday, Baxter doesn’t believe that will have an impact on his players.

“Dare I say the crowds in South Africa for some international matches are quite sparse as well,” he said. “The players were inspired by the crowd the other evening, but I hope they don’t need that sort of crowd to find that sort of inspiration.

“This is special now, you’re getting to the sharp end of the stick and it’s people that think like winners who will end up winning to the tournament.

“I think we know we’ve got a tough opponent. I think we know we’ve got to be completely focused and I think we understand that it is going to take all the mental energy we can muster and not be dependent on getting up because the crowd is up.”

AFP

2018 World Cup: ‘Knives To Throats’ As South Africa Seek Miracle

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter says his team have “knives to their throats” as they attempt an extraordinary qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

Bottom-of-the-table Bafana Bafana (The Boys) face Senegal in Polokwane and Dakar between Friday and Tuesday and must win both matches to snatch first place in Group D.

Senegal top the table with eight points from four matches, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde have six from five, and South Africa four from four.

South Africa and Senegal have an extra match because the 2-1 win by Bafana last November was annulled due to FIFA finding the Ghanaian referee guilty of “match manipulation”.

Africa will send five teams to Russia next year and three places are still up for grabs after Nigeria and Egypt secured places last month.

Tunisia hold a three-point lead over the Democratic Republic of Congo in Group A and need a draw at home against unpredictable Libya to ensure qualification.

A draw will also suffice for long-time World Cup absentees Morocco, who take a one-point Group C advantage over the Ivory Coast to Abidjan.

England-born Baxter was upbeat this week despite a serious of blows, and the 64-year-old insists star-stacked Senegal can be beaten twice.

“We have knives to our throats,” he admitted, “but maybe we can sneak into the World Cup through the back door.

“There is lots of pressure on Senegal because almost everyone expects them to qualify. They do not want to throw it all away.

“We must replicate the aggression shown in our win over Burkina Faso last month,” said Baxter, who failed to get South Africa to the 2006 World Cup during a prior spell as coach.

South Africa have lost two midfielders with Hlompho Kekana pulling out after his mother-in-law died and Thulani Serero shunning a call-up because he was not guaranteed a starting place.

However, Baxter cheered the arrival at training of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, two days after officials said a fractured bone above his eye would sideline him for six weeks.

The 30-year-old long-time star hopes to face the Senegalese Teranga Lions using a protective mask.

Originally doubtful because of a hamstring injury, star Senegal attacker Sadio Mane is now set to play having helped Liverpool triumph at West Ham last weekend.

“I do not want to lose five seconds on him (Mane),” was the defiant message from Baxter. “He has got a head, two arms and two legs just like everybody else.”

French coach Herve Renard has been busy this week plotting the downfall of the Ivory Coast, who he guided to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations title.

Morocco are seeking a first World Cup appearance since 1998 while the Ivory Coast qualified for the last three tournaments in Germany, South Africa and Brazil.

“I believe the most solid and best organised team will go to Russia,” said Renard, “and I hope that team is Morocco.”

Belgian Marc Wilmots has struggled since being hired last year to coach the Ivorians, with a shock home loss to Gabon a major World Cup setback.

But he refused to see the match as a personal showdown between him and Renard: “I have never seen a coach score a goal,” he told reporters.

Fit-again Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is back for the Ivorians and veteran attackers Salomon Kalou and Gervinho will bring precious experience to the Abidjan cauldron.

Although it is hard to imagine Tunisia failing against Libya, a 1-0 defeat coupled with a 1-0 win for DR Congo over Guinea in Kinshasa would send the central Africans to Russia.

AFP

S/Africa Coach Names Starting 11 Against Eagles Clash

South Africa coach, Stuart Baxter has named his starting lineup for today’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria.

Baxter listed familiar names like Itumeleng Khune, Eric Mathoho, Dean Furman, Keagan Dolly and Tokelo Rantie in his starting eleven.

The 1996 AFCON champions have been hit by injuries to some key players.

Kekana Ruled Out Of AFCON Qualifier Against Nigeria

AFCON 2017: Egypt Defeat Burkina Faso In Penalty Shootout To Reach FinalSouth Africa midfielder, Hlompho Kekana, has been ruled out of Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup Of Nations qualifier against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Uyo, owing to injury.

Fc Twente’s Kamohelo Mokotjo has also been withdrawn from the Bafana Bafana after sustaining an injury and has been replaced by Lebogang Phiri who recently signed for French Ligue 1 club Guingamp.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s coach, Stuart Baxter has named Thulani Hlatshwayo as the new Bafana Captain.

Hlatshwayo is the most in-form South African defender this season.

AFCON 2019: SA Coach, Baxter Names Squad To Face Nigeria

South Africa’s Technical Adviser, Stuart Baxter, has named his 25-man squad to face Nigeria in the opening match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The clash will take place on Saturday, June 10, 2017, at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.

Baxter has kept a good number of players that did duty against Guinea-Bissau and Angola in back-to-back friendly international matches in March.

Bafana Bafana has met the Super Eagles of Nigeria 12 times, with the West Africans emerging victorious on seven occasions with four matches drawn.

South Africa’s only win against the Super Eagles came under the reign of Baxter. It was an international friendly match in 2004 played at Ellis Park where Shaun Bartlett and Benedict Vilakazi scored the goals.

Below is a full list of the squad.

GOALKEEPERS:
1. Itumeleng KHUNE Kaizer Chief FC (SA)
2. Darren KEET Bidvest Wits FC (SA)
3. Ronwen WILLIAMS Supersport United FC (SA)

DEFENDERS:
4. Ramahlwe MPHAHLELE Kaizer Chiefs FC (SA)
5. Rivaldo COETZEE Ajax Cape Town FC (SA)
6. Thulani HLATSHWAYO Bidvest Wits FC (SA)
7. Erick MATHOHO Kaizer Chiefs FC (SA)
8. Lorenzo GORDINHO Kaizer Chiefs FC (SA)
9. Abbubaker MOBARA Orlando Pirates FC (SA)
10. Tebogo LANGERMAN Mamelodi Sundowns FC
11. Sifiso HLANTI Bidvest Wits FC (SA)

MIDFIELDERS:
12. Hlompho KEKANA Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)
13. Keagan DOLLY Montpellier (France)
14. Andle JALI KV Oostende FC (SA)
15. Kamohelo MOKOTJO FC Twente FC (Netherlands)
16. Dean FURMAN Supersport United FC (SA)
17. Themba ZWANE Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)
18. Bongani ZUNGU Vitoria Guimares (Portugal)
19. Aubrey NGOMA Cape Town City FC (SA)

STRIKERS:
20. Sibusiso VILAKAZI Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)
21. Percy TAU Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)
22. Lebohang MANYAMA Cape Town City FC (SA)
23. Tokelo RANTIE Genclerbirligi FC
24. Thamsanqa GABUZA Orlando Pirates FC (SA)
25. Kermit ERASMUS LENS (France)

Stuart Baxter now Kaizer Chiefs coach

Stuart Baxter the Bafana Bafana coach has been confirmed by the management of South African club Kaizer Chiefs as the new manager of the club.

With the Russian Vladimir Vermezovic exiting his position as the manager of Kaizer Chiefs the likes of Doctor Khumalo, Ace Khuse and Arthur Zwane had hold down the position while the management of the club went in hurried search for a replacement.

The announcement of securing the signature of the fiery Serbian was made via the official website of the club with a statement by the executive Chairman of the club; Kaizer Motaung saying it is a great pleasure getting Serbian Stuart Baxter on our side as the news manager of Kaizer Chiefs as he will fit into our strategy with so much wealth of knowledge internationally.

Also we see that his expertise being a coach instructor himself which make him a mentor for coaches and coach to be  will also help the club in various ways to mention a few, the youth academy.

The Serbian also reacted positively to the announcement made by the Club Chairman as he expressed his happiness working with Kaizer Chiefs as he admitted that though it is challenging project but still exciting

Baxter’s coach career has spanned across the continent with clubs like Vitoria Setubal, Halmstads BK, AIK, F.C. Lyn Oslo, England Under-19, South Africa, Helsingborgs IF and Finland among others.