Cape Town – Stuart Baxter on Friday resigned as Bafana Bafana head coach bringing an end to a turbulent second spell in charge of the men’s national team.
Baxter was appointed on May 4, 2017, and was handed a five-year contract until June 2022 with the mandate of guiding Bafana Bafana to the 2022 Soccer World Cup in Qatar. Reading from a prepared statement while flanked by SAFA CEO Russell Paul, Baxter confirmed that he was stepping down with immediate effect. “Someone should continue with this project and therefore I am resigning as Bafana Bafana head coach, Baxter said. “It was my personal decision to step down.” “I feel that I cannot continue to work with the required professionalism and passion as I have done, and to deal with the many issues involved with this programme.
“I’ve chosen not to point fingers in the past and will not do that now, and even when it would have been better for me personally to blame others I’ve tried to recognise what I could do to affect the situation and keep a level of integrity.” SAFA had previously confirmed that Baxter failed to hand in a performance report on the African showpiece and instead headed immediately to Sweden on holiday. The 65-year-old though has a poor record at the helm with a win ratio of just 38% having overseen 21 matches in charge.
He also guided his side to the quarter-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, with Bafana scraping through to the knockout stages as one of the best-placed third-place finishers. After a shock 1-0 win over Egypt in the last-16 many had felt that Baxter had saved himself from the sack as he had come in for fierce criticism from the public and media. On their return to SA from the AFCON tournament, a fiery Baxter in a heated press conference almost dared the SAFA top-brass to fire him. “I have no problem leaving this job‚ don’t confuse me with a coach who is desperate for a job,” Baxter said. “I am not a desperate coach who says‚ please don’t sack me‚ please.”