South Africa coach Stuart Baxter says he is “proud and frustrated” after his side played to a 1-1 draw with Nigeria at the FNB Stadium on Saturday to leave their participation at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in the balance.
Bafana Bafana fell behind to a Buhle Mkhwanazi own goal after only nine minutes, but equalized late in the first half through Lebo Mothiba after excellent work from Man of the Match Percy Tau.
That pleased Baxter, but he was frustrated that his players did not go for the jugular and push for the win that would have secured qualification for Cameroon next June-July.
“I said to the players in the dressing room, on one hand I am very proud, but on the other very frustrated,” Baxter told journalists.
“If we had been more true to ourselves and kept on playing what we discussed before the game, then I thought we could have knocked them over.
“We started going too long, too quickly, and when [Nigeria] were tiring, we needed to move them around and play in the spaces between them and not only try and get Percy or Lebo in behind them.
“At that point I think the players needed to say to themselves, ‘we go for this’. That is not easy when you have come back from a goal down and against a team that has just come from a World Cup,” he added. “So I think I will forgive the players that one.”