Stuart Baxter shouts orders to his Bafana Bafana team during their World Cup qualifier against Senegal. Photo: BackpagePix

DURBAN – Former Bafana Bafana and Leeds United captain Lucas “Rhoo” Radebe wants Stuart Baxter to be given an opportunity to continue with Safa’s Vision 2022.

Bafana failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year after succumbing to Senegal at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Friday night.

Bafana lost the game 2-0, which handed Senegal a ticket to Russia with one game to spare.

Baxter was given a five-year contract in June. 

“It was a combined decision. It is not one person who made the decision. There’s Vision 2022 and also the reason why we chose Baxter. We have to back that vision,” Radebe said.

“Yes, it was a good decision. Give him a chance. He deserved an opportunity to do the job. He said ‘Yes, I will do it’ and we said ‘If you say yes I can do it’, let us give him a chance.

Lucas Radebe says Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter must be given time to achieve things with the team. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

“We wanted him also to be involved in our youth structures. It is unfortunate that it is the results which decide the fate of the coach. But he needs support from the association and players. He needs to be strong enough to take risks.”

Bafana will have to wait for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers to see if they can book a place in Qatar.

“I know there are a lot of expectations and demands on coaches, but if you have a vision and if you have a goal to achieve the results doesn’t matter than much,” Radebe said.

“What matters is progress, sustainability and consistency. In order to be consistent, you restructure. You can come up and lose games, but as long as there’s progress and we are heading somewhere…

“Because even if you hit that success, you have to sustain that success. So if you don’t have that structure and support for that structure, then there’s no need for the vision.

Kamohelo Mokotjo trying to hold of Sadio Mane of Senegal during the 2018 World Cup qualifier. Photo: BackpagePix

“At the moment with the national team, I don’t think we are producing enough young players. We have Percy Tau, who I think is late. He should have been there three years ago. It is slow.”

It was the third time in a row that Bafana have failed to book a place at the World Cup via the qualifiers. They failed to advance in 2006 to Germany and 2014 in Brazil. They competed as hosts in 2010 in South Africa.

Radebe also questioned the passion of the current generation.

“Football is changing. The money is getting better and the players are getting comfortable instead of looking for possible opportunities going overseas,” he said.

“There’s a huge different between the players who were playing in 1992 and the players who are also playing today. We didn’t have much money, and money wasn’t the major incentives for us.

“In modern football, you lose a lot of values because of the business side of the game. Players want so much money before they can play. There’s no passion and there’s no love.”

Andile Jali being challenged during their loss to Senegal. Photo: BackpagePix

The lack of players who are competing in top European leagues has contributed to the rapid decline of Bafana Bafana, according to Radebe, who led the country in France in 1998 and in Japan/Korea in 2002.

“If you look at teams abroad, you ask yourself ‘Which continent is represented the most’, it is Africa.

“But is South African there? No. When Bafana were doing well during our time, we had a lot of overseas players. We had a strong pool of players.

“Today our players are strugg ling to compete against players who are plying their trade abroad,” Radebe concluded.

IOL Sport

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