Bafana were unlucky – Baxter

Bafana Bafana

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter insists that they didn’t throw the game away, but were unlucky following their 2-2 draw against Zambia in their CHAN qualifier on Saturday.

South Africa ran into a 2-0 lead against Chipolopolo courtesy of goals by Gift Motupa and Mario Booysen, but they let their lead slip as Zambia leveled matters in the referee’s optional time.

“The boys played well and made the most of what they got and I think at 2-0 up I couldn’t see a way back for Zambia because they weren’t creating chances,” he told

“2-1 came out of the blue as I thought we were dangerous on the breaks as they were on attack, it really came as a damp squib. I thought, do I change things a bit, do I lock up?

“And then Tercious [Malepe] gets sent off so I can’t lock up, instead I have to go 4-4-1. And then comes the last throw in, and the last kick of match the ball ends up in the back of our net.

“I don’t think the boys threw it away, but they were just unlucky. The way they battled for their jersey was very admirable and this tie is certainly far from over.

“I don’t know how much more Zambia has got because they played that way against us the last time we met, and I think they will play that way again when we meet,” he added.

Baxter admitted that conceding two away goals was not ideal, but reserved praise few a number of his players and mentioned that qualifying for the CHAN tournament in the face of adversity would not be an impossible task.

“It’s not a great result, giving away two goals at home means they can get through on 0-0, or even 1-1. The hype before the game was that we had no chance, they are a strong side – well they certainly didn’t do that and now we are going to their place and they know that we can play them.

“I know as a coach that it’s a difficult one for them – do they go for 0-0 or 1-1 or have a full go at us, and if they opt for the latter we can beat them on the transition then it’s 1-0 and they are shaking.

“I just think our general play should have been better and we should have put one of our chances away but I think the boys did as well as anybody could expect.

“Gift was outstanding, he ran their backline ragged, a couple of the young ones too – Meyiwa came in when Kumalo got injured and he did a great job.

“The captain Mario [Booysen] and Sandile [Mthethwa] were solid. They all should get a pat on the back for that. Now they will have to lick their wounds, sharpen their swords, fasten their seatbelts and go to Zambia and get a result – and that is not impossible.

“I am confident Zambia will have a tough game and they know it,” he said.