Dennis Mumble. Picture: SOWETAN
Dennis Mumble. Picture: SOWETAN

South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Dennis Mumble will meet beleaguered Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter on Thursday to discuss the national team’s poor performances in the recent back-to-back 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Cape Verde.

Bafana’s chances of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia now hang by the thinnest of treads and Mumble said Bafana’s performances in the two matches were “totally unacceptable”.

“I am not happy with what happened in the matches against Cape Verde and I am dealing with that issue‚” a visibly upset Mumble said.

“I am meeting with Stuart and we are continuing that conversation about what happened during those two matches. I want to know‚ even if I have to go and talk to each and every single player I will do that.

“I need to know why is it that they played the way they did. As a team‚ we must know‚ we must get to the bottom of this.

“It is not acceptable what happened there and they must know that it is not acceptable. I am making it clear that it is not acceptable.”

SA are now at the bottom of Group D with a single point and their chances will have been further handicapped after Fifa ordered Bafana to replay their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Senegal.

Bafana beat Senegal 2-1 in Polokwane in November 2016‚ but the South Africans have since lost the priceless points after controversial referee Joseph Lamptey was found to have manipulated the outcome of the match.

This puts SA in a precarious position and given that Bafana have not qualified for the World Cup since the 2002 showpiece in South Korea and Japan – they qualified as hosts in 2010 – the thought of failing to get to Russia horrifies Mumble.

“We use this as our prime target for this cycle of the Fifa World Cup. We must qualify for 2018‚” he said.

“We made an announcement that the two key targets were the African Nations Cup and the World Cup. Whatever it is that happened‚ we must now go and get to the bottom of it.”

Mumble acknowledged that Bafana’s chances are now very slim but he remained hopeful that the dire situation could still be rescued if results elsewhere favour South Africa‚ Baxter’s charges keep their end of the bargain by beating Burkina Faso next month and then follow that up with victories against Senegal in the two matches in November. - TimesLIVE

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