Stuart Baxter, soon to be the former coach of SuperSport United, will finish off the 2016/2017 season with the club, then go on to Bafana Bafana as head coach. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - Labelling CAF Confederation Cup defending champions TP Mazembe as the only difficult side SuperSport United will get to play against in their group would be a very unwise thing to do, Stuart Baxter warned.

The Scot, whose side dropped crucial points against so-called "weak teams" in their Absa Premiership campaign this season said those experiences taught him not to take any side lightly, as that type of attitude has a way of coming back to haunt you in the end.

The 63-year-old hopes his side will not repeat the same mistake when they host Horoya AC in their first leg meeting of their group stage fixtures on Friday night at Lucas Moripe Stadium (kick-off 7pm).

“What this season has taught is (to never take your opponents lightly),” Baxter said. “We’ve beaten likes of Bidvest Wits away from home and we’ve beaten Cape Town City as well. These are sides we thought were going to be very difficult to beat.

But it turned out not to be the case. We also dropped crucial points against sides like Baroka FC and Bloemfontein Celtic, games I thought we were going to win. But we didn’t.

“If you ask me,” Baxter added. “The (big) name in our group is TP Mazembe, but is tonight’s encounter against (Horoya) going to be an easy one for us? I think not. And that’s what football teaches you. The difficult side you think you’ll play against turns out not to be that.

" And so, the key thing to do is to make sure that you are well prepared for every game, respect your opponents and always bring your A-game. If we can do that then, I see us fancying our chances.”

The newly-appointed Bafana Bafana coach also added that he was pleased that his side were now able to produce winning results, adding that speculation of him taking up the Bafana job had a massive impact on his team and led to them performing poorly at the key stage of the league campaign.

“The worst part was when there was a whole lot of uncertainty surrounding the situation,” Baxter said. “And the uncertainty slightly destabilised the team, that, together with other things. But once it became clear to all of us (that he was the new Bafana coach), players started playing well again and just continued with pushing towards the goals we have set for ourselves this season. And that’s mainly because there was clarity to the whole thing.”

Baxter also stated that he hoped his side would do everything in their power to emulate CAF Champions League champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, by pushing to win the Confed Cup one for the country as well.

@Mohau_Ra

The Star

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