A dejected Stuart Baxter said on Wednesday that despite his side’s dramatic 2-1 defeat to Nigeria in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) they have shown they can compete with the best on the continent.
An 89th-minute winner by centre-back Troost-Ekong from a corner broke South African hearts and booked the three-time champions Nigeria’s spot in the semi-finals to face Algeria or Ivory Coast.
Baxter said that although he couldn’t find positives in defeat after a tough loss his side had shown that they could compete with Africa’s best.
“The team worked as hard as it could,” Baxter said. “The team has done as well as many people thought it could do.
“This is part of a process, we hadn’t been to an AFCON in a long time and now we’ve come to an AFCON and we’ve played some of the best teams and we showed that we can play with some of the best from the continent.
“That should give us motivation and I hope that the people of South Africa will support them.”