POLOKWANE – Although his intentions were to take Bafana Bafana to the 2018 World Cup in Russia when he was offered the job, coach Stuart Baxter said on Friday night it was not “a written mandate” from his bosses at Safa.
South Africa’s World Cup hopes were dashed by Senegal following a 2-0 defeat at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, leaving them bottom of Group D with four points from five games.
“My mandate, if I have one because I don’t think we have a written mandate, as I understood it, was to try and qualify for the World Cup and the (2019) Africa Cup of Nations. And if you can do both, that’s great,” Baxter explained.
“No one said if I don’t qualify for the World Cup, I may as well pack up and go, and no one said if you don’t qualify for Afcon, you may as well pack up and go.
“But as a professional, I know that if I have a nightmare in the World Cup and I have a nightmare in the Afcon, then I will go.
“And they won’t need to chase me out because if I don’t think progress is being made on any front, then I won’t stay on the job. That is not something people have to ask me.”
Baxter said the two back-to-back defeats against Cape Verde in September had shattered Bafana’s Word Cup hopes.
“Those two games have destroyed the campaign. You can look at that and say the things that we didn’t do against Cape Verde (home and away) are traditional.
“It’s the Mauritania syndrome (where Bafana’s lost 3-1 to leave their 2017 Afcon hopes hanging by a thread), all the small teams that we have played we were expected to win, and I say this with all due respect to Cape Verde,” said Baxter.
“In the bigger picture, and you would have to look at the Nigeria game and Burkina Faso game and the game tonight (Friday), there are a lot of good signs, but we need to get better.”