Thursday Oct 18, 2018. 12:00
South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has blamed the ball boys, the artificial pitch and simulation for his side’s embarrassing 0-0 draw with Seychelles earlier in the week.
Bafana Bafana were held goalless by the minnows in Victoria in a 2-19 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Tuesday – a major disappointment given that the Pirates were thrashed 6-0 by SA in Johannesburg last weekend.
“While it was 0-0‚ their players were lying down and trying to frustrate us,” Baxter said upon returning to South Africa on Wednesday, as quoted by Times Live.
"At one stage the ball boys hid all the balls‚ they threw them (balls) away and it took longer to restart play.
“Anybody going to Seychelles‚ they will have a difficult game. I spoke to the Nigerian coach Gernot Rohr and he said it was difficult for them when they played against Seychelles there.
"They (Seychelles) did not create 17 corners. They did not have as many chances as we did and the difference was that they had a little bit of luck.
"We needed a little bit of luck to punch holes in them so the game would change.
“That pitch takes a lot of time to getting used to. It is not like a grass pitch where you can run with the ball and it is bouncing all over the place‚” he said‚ explaining the reason they did train on an artificial pitch before leaving for Seychelles.
“We have been preparing for the first game at FNB Stadium and you can’t chop and change training facilities.
"If I trained on an astro turf before the match at FNB we could have been caught with our pants down.
"People would have said I have gone crazy and to be fair I thought we did a lot of work on that pitch in Seychelles because it was like playing on rubber.
“If you take two sessions‚ one on rubber and one on grass‚ you risk injuries as well.
"You also don’t get the benefits of the speed because you will go down a little bit in the afternoon session.
"We played so well against them at FNB because our preparations were on grass for speed and that was important for us.”