Saturday Nov 11, 2017. 16:00
Stuart Baxter believes that South Africa were unlucky in suffering a 2-0 defeat to Senegal in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Friday evening.
Bafana Bafana dominated most of the encounter, but lacked a killer edge as two moments of brilliance from Sadio Mané inspired the Lions of Teranga to victory.
South Africa forced themselves back into contention for World Cup qualification following a 3-1 win over Burkina Faso, but successive defeats to Cape Verde proved decisive as Senegal duly booked their return to the world stage.
"Difficult for the whole squad and for the whole country," Baxter told SuperSport TV. "We dragged ourselves back into contention after two poor performances against Cape Verde...
"I think the performance in the first half - it was amazing that we went into the break two goals down because I thought we were better than them. I thought we were better than them in every department despite the fact that we didn't have one world class act that could conjure something from nothing.
"We had to work for everything and we missed a lot of chances.
Baxter continued: "Second half we had to push for everything, they could sit and I still thought we created more than they did, but all that talk doesn't mean anything. They beat us 2-0 and they go to Russia.
All considered, the South African head coach is adamant that Bafana Bafana are not far off the best from the African continent.
"The fact that we had more possession doesn't impress me at all - we didn't finish, we had big chances that we couldn't convert.
"We are not far away from a top class team, but we have to take our chances - maybe that is the problem, a South Africa problem as well," Baxter concluded.