stuart baxter bafana bafana

Stuart Baxter, coach of South Africa during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals South Africa press conference at AL- Salaam Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 22 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Stuart Baxter steps down as Bafana Bafana coach

All eyes and ears were fixed on Bafana coach Stuart Baxter, as he held an urgent press conference on Friday morning, where he announced his resignation.

stuart baxter bafana bafana

Stuart Baxter, coach of South Africa during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals South Africa press conference at AL- Salaam Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 22 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has resigned from his post, just weeks after taking the national team to the last eight of the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt.

The Brit had been on the job for three years and had until 2022 before his contract was set to expire.

He called an urgent media conference on Friday and – flanked by Safa chief executive Russell Paul – cut to the chase as he announced his decision to step down.

“Someone should continue with this project, and therefore I’m resigning as Bafana Bafana coach.”

Stuart Baxter

The 65-year-old added that the decision to call it quits was entirely his.

“There is no monetary settlement. This had nothing to do about money. The figures quoted about my salary have been embarrassingly way off the mark.”

Stuart Baxter

How Stuart Baxter fared the second time around

Baxter returned for a second stint as Bafana coach in May 2017, having been at the helm over a decade prior, and began his tenure on a positive note, leading the team to their first ever competitive victory over rivals Nigeria – a 2-0 win in Uyo.

However, his fortunes were to quickly change as back-to-back defeats against unfancied Cape Verde, as well as another pair of losses to Senegal denied Bafana a spot in the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

He, however, redeemed himself by leading the team to Afcon qualification, finishing unbeaten in the campaign.

In the finals in Egypt, Bafana only just skated past the group stage, before famously eliminating the host nation. They were eventually sent packing in the next round after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Nigeria.

Baxter leaves the post after being charge of Bafana for 21 matches, winning eight, with four draws and nine defeats.

Throughout his second stint, he has made no bones about an uncomfortable working relationship with Safa and, following Bafana’s exit from Afcon, revealed that he would take time to decide whether or not to carry on.

“I am going back to Sweden for a few days and will look at myself to say if I can take this team forward,” Baxter said in July.

“If the answer is no‚ then I will step aside. But if the answer is yes‚ I will come back and speak to my employers. It is one where everyone has to have a hard look at themselves in the mirror.”

Stuart Baxter