18 November 2018 – Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter said he will go to Libya with a lot of hope taking into consideration how his players played to instructions during the 1-1 draw against Nigeria at FNB Stadium on Saturday, 17 November 2018.
The home side went 1-0 down through a Buhle Mkhwanazi own goal in the 10thminute but fought gallantly to snatch an equaliser midway through the first half with a well taken goal involving Themba Zwane, Percy Tau and finished off by Lebo Mothiba.
Both teams threw everything into attack in the second half but could not be separated further. The result also means Nigeria have qualified for Cameroon 2019 with the last slot in the Group to be decided when Bafana Bafana travel to Tunisia to face Libya.
Nigeria have 10 points, South Africa a further point down and Libya have seven points.
The Bafana Bafana coach said it would be folly for South Africa to go to Libya looking for a draw.
“The best way when we go to Libya is to approach the game the normal way. We don’t need to go there and park the bus,” he said adding that unlike the game in Durban, the North Africans will see a better South African team which is mentally strong.
“If we stick to our game plan, we have every reason to go to Libya and believe in ourselves. We have refined what we are good at. The players deserve a pat on the back but are aware of the minefield when we go to Libya. I think we showed character having to go a goal down early in the game against Nigeria. We need to believe in ourselves.”
With several key players likely to have recovered by next March, Baxter said this team has what it takes to beat anyone on their day.
On the Nigeria game, the Bafana Bafana coach said he was both happy and frustrated.
“If we had kept on playing the way we had discussed, we could have gotten more from this game,” he said adding that the players should have given it an extra push.
“I was proud of the overall performance and as we sit here we have not lost a game in these qualifiers and have taken four points off Nigeria. I am a bit disappointed, frustrated but at the same time proud of the boys and I thought Tau was the best player by a mile.”
He said apart from the Seychelles away game where things just could not work according to plan, the team had generally played according to instructions and this gives him great hope going forward.