• Baxter expects a ‘bruising’ encounter

    Bafana coach Stuart Baxter

    Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is under no illusions regarding the threat that Botswana pose ahead of the first leg of their 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier.

    South Africa got the better of the Zebra’s in their Cosafa Cup plate semi-final encounter, with goals by Riyaad Norodien and Judas Moseamedi sealing their spot in the final.

    Despite emerging as victors, Botswana were no push-overs, and Baxter is expecting a tough encounter.

    “It was a very physical game. I think they got a lot of stick [at home] not because they lost to us, but because of the way they played,” he said at a press conference.

    “People in Botswana don’t want them to play that way.

    “From all reports, the coach who has taken over is not different in his approach. So, I’m expecting a bit of a bruising game.

    “I’m expecting that we’re going to have to protect the ball with our physicality. And we’re going to have to shift it quickly; otherwise we’re going to get turned over.

    “So, yeah, I think it will be a tough game. But we have experience of them, and we know that if we play well we know we can get a result to bring back here.

    “If we win 1-0 it’s not over, and if we lose 1-0 it’s not over. You’ve got to bring them back here with a result you can play on,” he said.

    South Africa’s preparations were dealt a blow when midfielder Lehlogonolo Masalesa had to be withdrawn from the squad, as he was not eligible to play due to being a free agent.

    Bafana Bafana face the Zebras on Saturday, 15 July 2017 at the Francistown Stadium, with kick-off scheduled for 15:00

    Photo: Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix

    This story originally appeared on SoccerClub.co.za

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