Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter. Photo: Muzi Ntombela / Backpagepix

DURBAN – As Bafana Bafana prepare to start their adventure Africa Cup of Nations on Monday, the question many are asking is whether Stuart Baxter will bring an end to poor performances by foreign coaches at the tournament.

Since South Africa’s readmission to the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) back in 1992, only local coaches have enjoyed success.

Who can ever forget Clive Barker’s astuteness in leading the country to glory on local soil back in 1996?

That triumph remains arguably our finest moment in international football and Baxter would endear himself to the local football fraternity should he replicate it at the 24-nation extravaganza that kicks off in Cairo tonight when hosts Egypt take on Zimbabwe.

History though suggests we should not get our hope up, after all foreign coaches have fared pretty poorly for Bafana.

Carlos Quieroz's best was when he took Bafana to the quarter-finals of the 2002 tournament hosted by Mali. But that result was pretty poor in comparison to what his local predecessors had done.

After Barker’s 1996 heroics, Jomo Sono took Bafana to the final two years later in Burkina Faso where they lost to Egypt.

After Sono, Trott Moloto got the squad into the semi-finals at Ghana/Nigeria 2000 as Bafana finished third.

Enter Portugal's Quieroz.

As Egypt 2019 looms, memories of the 2006 tournament in the land of the Pharaohs no doubt come flooding back.

There, Romanian Ted Dumitru who has since passed away, reigned over the country’s most disappointing campaign ever - Bafana returning home goalless, winless and pointless from a campaign where they were expected to do well given the strength of their squad.

More disappointment was to follow two years later in Ghana, with Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira failing to live up to his billing as a top class tactician.

Bafana were sent home packing after their three group stage matches and later did not even qualify for Angola 2010.

Baxter has twice failed to lead Bafana to World Cup qualification and while many celebrated him when he helped earn the ticket to Egypt 2019, only a good run at the event will silence those who have always maintained that South Africa is best served by a local coach.

Does the Englishman have what it takes to succeed where a Portuguese, Brazilian nd Romanian have failed before?

He has at least three matches against opposition Bafana have generally gotten the better of to answer that question.



The Mercury

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