Baxter brings in a shrink for Bafana as pressure mounts
'What is it that we can do to get our players to raise their psychological preparedness for these kinds of big events?'
Bafana Bafana will have a sports psychologist in camp for their must-win World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso at FNB Stadium on October 7, SA Football Association CEO Dennis Mumble has said.
Mumble said the psychologist would work on the players' mental toughness after away and home 2-1 defeats against Cape Verde that have left Bafana's Russia 2018 ambitions almost in tatters.
South Africa can restore a faint chance of qualification with a victory against 49th-ranked Burkina Faso.
Coach Stuart Baxter identified the mental aspect of his players as being key to the Cape Verde defeats.
His argument appeared to be strengthened by now-confirmed reports that at least four players partied hard in the team hotel in Durban after the second loss to Cape Verde on September 5.
Mumble said Safa would look at employing sports psychologists to address this aspect.
"We have to work on the mind-set of the players," Mumble said.
"What is it that we can do to get our players to raise their psychological preparedness for these kinds of big events?
"Every time I ask a coach: 'Why did the team perform in the way that it did?' the answer is always: 'The mindset'.''
"So we are now seriously talking to some sports psychologists to come and work with the team on a permanent basis.
"The chief psychologist obviously is the coach. But there needs to be a level of professional psychology that needs to be applied here."
Asked if a sports psychologist would be employed for the game against Burkina Faso, Mumble replied: "Yes, this is part of what I'm saying.
"I have been talking to the coach about that.
"The chief medical officer has been asked to go and make sure that we get a sports psychologist who comes to the very next camp to work with the players."