JOHANNESBURG: Ex Bafana Bafana marksman and current Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy is backing Stuart Baxter to make it to Russia despite major odds against him.
Mathematically Bafana can still book a place in the World Cup despite languishing at the bottom of Group D with one point from three matches. Bafana lost back-to-back matches against Cape Verde - ranked 67 in the world - home and away last month, which dented their hopes.
Bafana got their single point away to Burkina Faso last year when Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba was still at the helm. On Saturday they face group log-leaders Burkina Faso at FNB Stadium (kickoff 3pm), and McCarthy remains optimistic that Baxter can turn around Bafana’s fortunes.
“Safa have installed their trust in Baxter (and) it is too early to make judgement,” he said. “When we lose games, people are quick to point fingers. People forget that he went to Nigeria and defeated Nigeria there and everyone sang his praises at the time. Now that we’ve lost to Cape Verde we are labelling him as a bad coach.
“As South Africa we don’t have patience and that’s why we don’t succeed when it comes to youth. We are too quick to point fingers. People have to understand that coaches are human beings. They also need time to grow and get their philosophy across to the players. Here you get the job today and tomorrow you need to be the champion.”
Meanwhile the date for the replay of the match between Bafana and Senegal has been announced. The game will take place on November 10 in Polokwane. The sides will face each other again on November 14 in Senegal.
#WorldCup line-up, so far:
“Baxter didn’t have that much time (at first) and had to play against Nigeria and he did so successfully. When you play World Cup qualifiers you go there and get teams that you don’t know a lot about. It not as easy as it seems from outside.
“I’m confident in Baxter. He is an experienced coach and he will do the best for the country, and he will put us where we should be. I have not lost faith that Bafana can still qualify but we have to use our experience. We have to give players that are playing in Europe against tough opposition opportunities in these matches,” McCarthy explained.
“People in South Africa have not lost interest in Bafana, I disagree with that. When we (City) played Ajax Cape Town this past weekend the whole bottom part of Cape Town Stadium was full. That is not saying that the public have lost faith in our football.
“The national team had a slump but they will bounce back. Every good nation, or if you are boxer, and you are punched down, you get yourself up and fight harder. The more you want it the more you will become victorious. That’s what Bafana has to do.
“They must work towards beating Burkina Faso on Saturday and win (the replay) against Senegal. They must win it fair and square so that nobody can complain.”