Bafana coach: From dead man walking to national hero

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Stuart Baxter’s days as South Africa coach appeared numbered after a limp group stage display left Bafana Bafana up against Africa Cup of Nations hosts Egypt, but a famous defeat of the title favourites has quietened his mounting detractors.

Despite scrabbling through in the final qualifying spot for the last 16, on the strength of a Bongani Zungu header in a gritty 1-0 win over Namibia, the focus back home centred on who would replace the 65-year-old with most convinced Mohamed Salah and co. were about to send South Africa packing in Cairo.

Former striker Benni McCarthy, the country’s record goal-scorer and coach of top-flight Cape Town City, was being touted as a possible successor following 1-0 losses to Ivory Coast and Morocco, as Baxter’s ultra conservative tactics prompted a public outcry.

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