Baxter delighted with historic win over Nigeria

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says the 2-0 win against Nigeria ranks as his most memorable feat on the international stage.

South Africa secured their first-ever victory against The Super Eagles in a competitive tie after goals by Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau gave them the perfect start to their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign.

Baxter highlighted the magnitude of the victory, claiming that it was the most satisfactory performance that he has had on an international level.

‘I said to the players in the dressing room after the game I’ve drawn 1-1 in Germany with Finland when they equalised with the last kick of the game. I took a third-string SA to the [Concacaf Gold Cup] in the US and beat Mexico,” he told TMG Digital.

‘Those two have been the most satisfactory performances I’ve had at national level, until tonight, because it was in the backyard of a team we could never beat.

‘I know how much that means to everybody back home. I know that I’ve only just walked in, and the players have grabbed everything that we’ve said.

‘And yes, it was not perfect in the first half, but it was bloody near-perfect in the second — because Nigeria couldn’t get near us,’ he added.

The former SuperSport United mentor revealed that a change in tactics in the second half of the game allowed his side to overturn Nigeria’s dominance in the first half.

‘In the second half, we played the ball into pockets. Then the player was receiving on the half-turn and could see where the defender was.

‘And when we did that, we ended up sawing our way through Nigeria so many times.

‘I wasn’t so confident when I started the week because I’m thinking, they’ve been training in France for three weeks and we’ve got four sessions, and we’ve got a few injuries and Hlompho Kekana pulled out and this is going to be tough.

‘But the more I did my research on Nigeria, the more I thought: ”We can find some holes here”.

‘And then in the very first session, the players were flying. And I thought, ”We’ve definitely got a chance.”

‘That’s why when we arrived, we had to adapt our plans a bit [cancelling a training session on arrival in Uyo on Thursday to allow players to be fresh for the Friday session].

‘And now I’m thinking maybe that was the best decision I made on the whole camp,’ he concluded’.

Bafana occupy  second spot in Group E after Libya thrashed Seychelles 5-1 in the other game. South Africa face Zambia in an international friendly on Tuesday with kick-off set for 19:30.

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

This story originally appeared on SportsClub.co.za