My mandate was never to qualify – Stuart Baxter

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says his mandate was never to qualify for the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

South Africa’s dream of playing in the World Cup in Russia next year were shattered when they lost 2-0 to Senegal at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Friday night.

“I want to look at the log first and see. Do we have a chance to be better than we are? If that’s the case we’ll play our strong side and try to win the game,” Baxter told SuperSport TV.

“I don’t think we had a lack of effort from the players.  I may give a chance to a few lads who work very hard and haven’t had a game [time]. It’s a dead-rubber.

“It’s about pride for the shirt and pride for the results of the country. So we will go and do the best we can.

“My mandate was never about ‘qualify for the World Cup or you go home’. I wanna make sure that we’re making progress. I’ve seen some of the performances that we need to move more quickly.

“We need to make progress. We need to have everyone’s backing in the country, including SAFA and that’s the only way we’ll get better.

“Maybe I’m blue-eyed but I don’t think this team [Senegal] or Nigeria are better than us. They may have the big names but with the right sort of application we can certainly move forward.”