While South Africa might be considered favourites on paper as they prepare for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) showdown with Namibia on Friday night, head coach Stuart Baxter remains wary of his side’s opponents.
After Bafana Bafana opened their campaign with defeat to Ivory Coast, the clash set for Cairo’s Al Salam Stadium has become a must-win.
However, despite being confident, the Bafana mentor has urged his team not to disrespect their Southern African neighbours, who will also be on the lookout for three points after losing their Group D opener to Morocco.
“Ivory Coast is the first game we have lost in one-and-half years and talking of dismantling Namibia is totally disrespectful towards a team that qualified for Afcon and ran Morocco very, very close,” the 65-year-old coach was quoted as saying by Safa’s website ahead of the game.
One cause for concern has been Bafana’s tameness in front of goal as Bafana failed to register a single shot on target against the Ivorians, but Baxter is hopeful that things will be a lot more positive this time around.
“Yes, our strikers didn’t fire on the day and we didn’t create a lot of goal chances. Even then, Tyson [Thulani Hlatshwayo] had a good chance, Percy [Tau] went through and could have had a penalty. We had chances but they were not enough for us,” he explained.
“I do understand the mood back home but that is nothing new and let’s be honest, that was a top team [Ivory Coast] we were playing. There were some positives but we were not really happy with our overall performance and yes, this [Namibia game] is a massive game for us.
“The onus is on us to produce good football. If we play the way we are capable of, we can win the game but I will not come here and disrespect our opponents,” a confident Baxter concluded.