AFCON 2019 QUALIFIER
Bafana Bafana Head Coach, Stuart Baxter, is still enjoying the status of â€˜man-of-the-momentâ€™ following his spectacular plot that broke the jinx that had afflicted South Africa in previous encounters with Super Eagles.
Coincidentally, he was the handler of the team when Bafana Bafana beat Nigeria in a Mandela Challenge contest 14 years ago at Ellis Park, in Johannesburg.
He told Times Live in South Africa that he had never received as much text messages in his life as he did after his team beat Nigeria 2-0 last Saturday in Uyo.
This is reverse to what he experienced when he was fired in his first spell after he failed to qualify South Africa to Egypt 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.
He said even though he had just four days of camping as against the three weeks the Super Eagles had, he had to resort to intelligent gathering and consultations with relevant people who could help out.
He contracted Manchester United scouts to gather credible intelligent reports on the Super Eagles as they trained and played two friendly matches in France.
Baxter had ticked just about every box in his preparations since being appointed just over a month ago.
He selected a strongâ€š well thought-out squad. He called Thulani Serero to explain the marginalised Ajax Amsterdam playerâ€™s omission.
He called Hunt for advice on his squad. Hear what he told the South African media: â€œWeâ€™ve had injury scares leftâ€š right and centre. We had to back off one of the trainings (on arrival in Uyo on Thursday) because the trip was too long and arduous.
â€œAnd I donâ€™t know if it took us a bit of time to get into our strideâ€š or if you just expect a storm in the first 20 minutes â€“ I donâ€™t know if it was us or Nigeria.
â€œBut it just felt that after about 20 minutes the crowd went downâ€š Nigeria started making mistakesâ€š and we opened the pitch better. And once we started opening the pitchâ€š then we started getting our players on the ballâ€š doing things on the ball.
â€œOnce the defending led to attacking playâ€š I thought we dominated the game. We hit the post twice.
â€œThe other reason Iâ€™m delighted is that you know that if you have a disappointing resultâ€š then straight away people are sayingâ€š â€˜Ah wellâ€š you see. Heâ€™s good at club level but heâ€™s failing again. So absolutely delighted,â€ Baxter concluded.