Having led South Africa to 2018 Cosafa Cup Plate glory, coach Stuart Baxter says he wants to restore the nation’s belief in the national team.
Bafana Bafana defeated Major David Bright’s men, Botswana in the final on Friday to lift the Plate trophy following a 4-2 victory at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Despite a lacklustre start in the quarter-finals against Madagascar who beat them 4-3 on penalties, Bafana went on to defeat the Namibians 4-1 in the semi-finals.
Following the loss to the Malagasy, Baxter and his men came under fire as many felt losing to their lowly Southern Africa counterparts was unforgivable.
However, speaking after the regional tournament where defending champions Zimbabwe retained their trophy with a 4-2 win over Zambia on Saturday, the English manager was adamant that using the youngsters is still a good decision on his part.
“We don’t get it (the good reputation) back by frightening the coach each time, thinking he is going to get the sack because he lost on penalties to Madagascar. Then no coach ever becomes creative,” Baxter was quoted as saying by IOL.
“I am going to say I will stick my job on the line and play with the kids here against teams that would love to knock us over, but everyone is waiting with their pens for me to lose and then I am down, then which coach is going to take the responsibility to see Lyle Foster getting game time?,” continued the boss.
“I don’t know how we get the brand back, but we don’t get it back if we don’t get on the same bus,” Baxter explained.
“I will stay until I think I can’t affect it. If I can’t affect the progress I will jump and someone else comes in," said the coach.
“Sweden played Denmark in a World Cup warm up game, totally boring game which ended 0-0," he asserted.
“And the team was booed off the field. The papers were united saying what the hell are you booing for?," continued the coach.
“I can just imagine that situation here. I don’t think the media would have gone out in any sort of defence for the team," he said.
“We grab at negativity, and maybe it sells better. I don’t think the media finds any positives," added the former Kaizer Chiefs mentor.
“Germany have not won a game since they qualified (for the World Cup), culminating in losing 2-1 at home to Austria, their old rivals. But no one has batted an eyelid. I am guessing that the Germany brand is a lot stronger than ours at the moment, so I get that point," said the English manager.
“But we’ve all got to be united in how we get our reputation back,” he concluded.
Baxter used the regional tournament with an aim of preparing for the upcoming 2019 Caf African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Libya in September.