Stuart Baxter blames referee, pitch for Seychelles result

Bafana Bafana were woeful in front of goal, creating 21 shots but only managing to get four of them on target.

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter. Picture: @BafanaBafana/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana are still licking their wounds following their disappointing goalless draw against the lesser-favoured Seychelles in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Wednesday.

South Africa were woeful in front of goal, creating 21 shots but only managing to get four of them on target. Also forcing 17 corners, with none of them resulting in a goal for the visitors.

The result comes three days after Bafana hammered the island nation 6-0 at the FNB Stadium, taking them ever so close to booking their place in the continental showpiece next year.

The coach did acknowledge that his boys’ efforts in front of goal were embarrassing, but he laid much of the blame at the referee’s doorstep, claiming that Bafana deserved fair treatment.

“A combination of the pitch and some unbelievable time wasting and cheating by the opponents and a very, very poor refereeing performance and us not taking advantage of the chances we created, that’s how you know you can get that result.”

Baxter says he was already warned by Nigeria’s head coach that they would be playing on a horrible artificial surface and he got to see that for himself.

“Immediately after the game, I was frustrated and angry with the way the game panned out. I met the Nigerian coach in London and he told me that the pitch was the worst he’d ever played on in a competitive game and I agree with him and that’s not an excuse because we still did enough to win the game.”

Nigeria are sitting on top of Group E on nine points, one ahead of Bafana, following their back-to-back wins over Libya. They also managed a 3-0 win over the Seychelles when they played them in the Seychelles.

Baxter says the Super Eagles had things going their way on the day, hence they managed to get what seemed to be an easy result.

“We had a clear penalty turned down, Nigeria got a penalty. We hit the crossbar and it came down and bounced out and they hit the crossbar and it hit the goalkeeper on the neck and went in the net. Those are the margins. You need a bit of luck on that pitch.”

South Africa still have their Afcon fate in their hands with two games to go. They must beat the Nigerians at Soccer City on 17 November and seal their passage with a game to spare. If that fails, they will need to hold the Libyans to a draw when they meet in March next year.