COMMENT: Bafana Bafana may have just shot themselves in the foot with Seychelles draw

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Qualifying for major tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations is an achievement on its own, but Bafana should be aiming higher

South African football fans may have to take out their calculators to see if Bafana Bafana stand any chance of qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon after Tuesday's disappointing draw away to Seychelles. 

While there's still hope that Bafana will be in Yaounde next year, their failure to beat Seychelles means that they now need to get a result from the Nigeria game and avoid defeat away to Libya in their final matches which could be a tough ask.  

Stuart Baxter's men moved down to second position on the Group E log following Nigeria's 3-2 win over Libya in Tuesday's evening match.

If Libya beat Seychelles and Bafana lose to Nigeria, then Baxter will have to win or at least draw away to The Mediterranean Knights in order to finish second on the log.  

Bafana looked home and dry after their 6-0 first leg win over Seychelles, but they took their foot off the gas and allowed the Super Eagles to take control of the group with Tuesday's draw. 

Drawing and losing against relatively smaller nations (such as Seychelles) is proof enough that Bafana haven't learned from their past mistakes.

Bafana Afcon Qualifying campaign PS

The country expected the team to take six points off Seychelles, who went into the encounter without a point to their name after three games. 

But Bafana's showing that they still cannot rise to the occasion when it matters most, and this is frustrating for a nation with world class infrastructure. The draw left more questions than answers for Baxter. 

Apart from missing too many goalscoring chances on the day, Baxter's tactics continued to be exposed. Seychelles knew that that there was only one way to stop Bafana from winning, and that was to defend in numbers and allow the visitors to have the ball. 

The technical team needed to come up with a strategy to get through that Seychelles bus, but the Bafana attackers just didn't know what to do with the ball except to feed it to Lebo Mothiba whenever they pushed forward. 

South Africa v Seychelles, October 2018, Stuart Baxter

Mothiba didn't have the best of games on the day, but Baxter stuck with him throughout the 90 minutes as he didn't forsee the possibility of Seychelles being too strong defensively for his attackers. 

This means he somehow undermined the Islanders, and the players were too complacent, thinking that this was going to be a walk in the park. 

Bafana only began to realise the seriousness of this match in the second half, but even then, they just didn't know when to pass for a better opening or test the goalkeeper from distance. 

Seychelles was Bafana's ticket to Cameroon, because a win over the Pirates would have taken them to 10 points and put them on the brink of qualification, but they blew that chance and will have to work their socks off in their remaining two games to secure their spot in next year's finals. 

Looking at their record thus far, there are some positives; they won two matches, drew two and they are yet to lose a match. Bafana are also yet to concede a goal while they have scored eight in four games, but that's all they can show for thus far, which may not be enough for them to qualify. 

Afcon Group E log

Will the country accept this draw against Seychelles? No, because it might not be long before reality hits home, especially with Nigeria and Libya still in contention. 

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This looks like another 'rebuilding phase' for Bafana, but in all honesty, Baxter has had too many matches to experiment and work on his combinations. The 65-year-old mentor had two Cosafa Cup tournaments, a disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign, and a couple of international friendlies since he took over to see if he has the necessary tools to take the national team to the next level.

However, it does look like Bafana took one step forward and two step backwards this past week, and with 2022 around the corner, Safa's vision to have a strong team that can compete on all fronts may just be a dream. 

Bafana may still qualify for next year's Afcon, but like other editions when they qualified, South Africa would be going Cameroon to add numbers and not to compete for the trophy. This remains the sad reality. 

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