Missed goal-scoring opportunities, a poor artificial pitch and terrible officiating by match officials are some of the factors that saw Bafana Bafana play out to a 0-0 draw with Seychelles, according to coach Stuart Baxter.
South Africa did themselves no favours in their bid to qualify for the 2019 Afcon as they were held to a goalless stalemate by the minnows, three days after thrashing the same opponents 6-0 at the FNB Stadium.
Baxter revealed his disappointment with the result, saying that the players were dejected.
‘I am of course massively disappointed with the result,’ he told the media upon landing at OR Tambo International Airport.
‘The players were very deflated. I don’t want to say they were embarrassed because that would be deriding the effort they put in. But they know the result was important for us.
‘That was one of the worst pitches to ever play a competitive game on, and that’s not an excuse because we still did enough to win the game. But I think a combination of the pitch, and some unbelievable time-wasting, cheating by the opponent as well as a very poor refereeing performance, plus not taking the chances we created [explain the result],’ he added.
Had South Africa collected the three points at the Stade Linte, qualification to next year’s continental showdown would have been all but guaranteed with Bafana needing just one point from their final two clashes against Nigeria and Libya.
However, it proved a case of two points dropped by Baxter’s men, who will need to collect three points from their final two qualifiers.
‘We needed a bit of luck on that pitch. I thought the boys did as much as they could do, we needed a bit of quality at the right time,’ Baxter continued.
‘Whether we had won Tuesday’s game or not, we would still have had to face the same Nigeria team. We would have come in with a lot of confidence if we had picked up more points, but we still need to get the job done. It was just frustrating to be cheated like that.
‘I had the referee tell me that he had to stop play when their goalkeeper went down. But that is not in the Fifa rules, unless there’s a head injury and not when he sees that someone is going to shoot.
‘I think if you just change those five seconds of the game, then we have a comfortable win,’ he concluded.
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