Cape Town – Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter has accused the Seychelles of cheating, blamed the "worst ever" pitch and a poor refereeing performance after his side were held to a goalless draw.
Bafana Bafana were held to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday at the Linite Stadium by Seychelles – a team of semi-professionals who are ranked a staggering 189th in the world.
After a convincing 6-0 win over the same opponents just days earlier at the FNB Stadium, Baxter admitted his disappointment at not coming home with maximum points against the islanders.
"Immediately afterwards I was frustrated and angry about the way the game panned out," Baxter told journalists after landing back in SA.
"I met Gernot Rohr, the Nigeria coach in London and he told me the pitch was the worst he had ever played on in a competitive game, and I agree with him.
"Thats not an excuse, because we still did enough to win the game. But, I think it was a combination of the pitch, some unbelievable time-wasting and cheating by the opponents, a very poor refereeing performance and us not taking advantage of our chances.
"I think that's how you know you can get that result. We had a clear penalty turned down, Nigeria got a penalty, we hit the crossbar and it bounced out, Nigeria hit the crossbar and it hit the goalkeeper and went in. Those are the margins, you need a bit of luck on that pitch.
"So I think the boys did as much as they could. We needed a bit of quality at the right time.
"The players were very, very deflated – I don't want to say embarrassed because that would be deriding the effort that they put in, but they know the result was important for us, so they were therefore very down after the game."
Baxter though insisted that all was not lost as Bafana still stood a good chance of qualifying for next year's AFCON tournament to be hosted in Cameroon.
"The situation is not really changed. If we had won last night, we would still have to do the same things – we still have to knock Nigeria over, if we can, and if we dont then weve got to get something in Libya," he added.
"And that would have been the same even if we got a couple more points, but it would have been very good for the confidence."
To secure qualification – Bafana Bafana would need to as a bare minimum – ensure that they take points off Libya in their final qualifier.
Bafana Bafana next host Nigeria on November 16 at the FNB Stadium.