Baxter upbeat despite #Afcon2019 defeat; looks ahead to Namibia clash on Friday
CAIRO – After South Africa's 1-0 defeat to the Ivory Coast in their opening Afcon match in Cairo on Monday, coach Stuart Baxter says they need to pick up points in their next game against Namibia on Friday.
The Group D clash takes place at the Al Salam Stadium (start at 10pm).
“It’s going to be a good game. It's a local derby sort of match so I think it’s going to be a much more combative game,” said Baxter. "I think we showed today that we belong in this tournament, we showed we can be a tough opponent for everybody.
“We are going into both games (Namibia and then Morocco) looking to take points. I think we showed enough to take points in this group.
“There are lots of ways to win a game, it’s not just about throwing the kitchen sink. You’ve got to be smart about it and not step on a landmine. If either team loses on Friday then they can say goodbye.”
Bafana Bafana's losing start to their Afcon campaign in a blazing-hot Al Salam Stadium on Monday was disappointing and a breakaway goal by Jonathan Kadjia in the 63rd minute was the difference between the teams.
The match started at a tepid pace due to the stifling heat but it was the West Africans who came close in the first-half when Pepe’s 31st-minute strike hit the crossbar.
From the follow-up, outstanding Ronwen Williams made a world-class save in a one-on-one situation to deny Ivory Coast the opener.
There was little to shout about from both sides in the first-half although captain Thulani Hlatshwayo had a good header from a corner going tantalisingly wide.
The tempo of the second half was almost similar but it was Ivory Coast who scored from a breakaway play that stretched the Bafana Bafana backline and left Williams stranded.
Ivory Coast then sat back and relied more on counter attacks after the goal, something that frustrated South Africa, who had no way of penetrating their defence.
African News Agency (ANA)