In his first official game (of his second stint) in charge, coach Stuart Baxter urged his side to keep their momentum regardless of the score-line, an Achilles heel for Bafana under his predecessor Shakes Mashaba.
This 2019 Group E Africa Cup of Nations opening qualifier for the two sides wasn’t as epic by any stretch of the imagination, but victory for
Baxter, who actually did beat
The Super Eagles have a record as South Africa’s bogey side, even from the days of apartheid, but that came to a halt at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium here in Uyo.
In a rebuilding phase under new coach Gernot Rohr, who picked a highly inexperienced and youthful side for this qualifier, there was a sense that Bafana would prove to be a serious test in the build-up earlier this week.
The opening few minutes were played with caution by the visitors, with
Despite the Super Eagles enjoying the lion’s share of the ball possession, Bafana had the best chance on the stroke of halftime when Themba Zwane struck the post after a fumble by goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
But perhaps that was some sort of a morale booster for Baxter’s men, who emerged from the tunnel and were more aware and began to create clear-cut chances.
A bit before the clock hit the hour-mark, Tokelo Rantie broke the deadlock to silence the home crowd. That
The last time Rantie was at this very venue, he scored twice in a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, although the match ended in a draw.
Then, Bafana finished top of the group and denied
Zwane could have added a second minutes later, but struck the post yet again.
But substitute Percy Tau added to the tally much later in the match when he beat an offside trap following a counter-attack as
Baxter was spot-on with his tactics and will fancy his chances of getting Bafana to the Nations Cup in
Plenty of work ahead, but an ideal start from the Scotsman.Independent Media