Stuart Baxter says Bafana Bafana didn’t reach their normal standard in their World cup qualifier loss against Cape Verde.
South Africa took the lead through Tokelo Rantie’s strike, but poor defending by the visitors allowed Cape Verde to fight their way back into the game and claim a 2-1 victory, courtesy of a brace by Nuno Rocha.
‘First half, we get our noses in front and I think we had good control of the game,’ he told safa.net.
‘We had a period of about 20 minutes where I said to the players, we got to stay true to ourselves.
‘We went into a back foot mode, not taking responsibility on the ball, losing the ball too easily and it was a little bit of rabbit in the headlights.
‘The importance of the game affected a few of the players and they didn’t reach their normal standard.
‘We can find excuses or reasons, I think that’s one of the reasons that we didn’t show focus and composure to keep playing, because we opened the game quite well. We got a goal and we were threatening to get our combination play.
‘When they threatened us, especially when they scored, and they scored disappointingly, we got an opportunity at that end, we lose the ball and they counter on us and it’s a little bit sloppy, and I don’t think we reacted well to the goal.
‘When we came out in the second half, we showed that we can play on this pitch. It was more of an attitude problem rather than technical a problem. Even when Tower [Mathoho] went off, we still created a couple of chances.
‘We can find the referee as a villain of the piece, we can say the ball boys didn’t throw the ball back, but for me those aren’t reasons, those are excuses,’ he concluded.
Bafana face Cape Verde at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in the return leg of their Fifa World Cup qualifier, with kick-off set for 19:00.
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