Aggressive Opening Minutes: South Africa’s Strategy

Aggressive Opening Minutes: South Africa’s Strategy

South Africa plans to be very aggressive and adventurous in the opening minutes of the encounter with the Super Eagles in Uyo on Saturday.
Sports Village Square gathered from South African sources the Bafana Bafana coach, Stuart Baxter, has told his boys to do that to silent the home crowd on Saturday.
Information that the Sports Village Square gathered from a South African publication also confirmed this.
“I think we’ve got to shut the crowd up. That’s one of our big jobs‚” Baxter was quoted as saying ahead of his team’s Wednesday departure to Lagos‚ then flight to Uyo in central Nigeria on Thursday morning.
“If we let the crowd get excited‚ and Nigeria enjoy the game‚ then I think that’s going to be a big plus for them.
“I think if we can turn that around and frustrate them a bit‚ and be better than they think‚ and have more to say than they think‚ then maybe the crowd could be a bit of a negative for them.
“I think that’s important. And maybe if Nigeria could have chosen‚ they might not really have wanted to play us in the first game at home.
“Because then there is the scenario that if they lose they’re going to be under tremendous pressure from the beginning.
“So we have to use that. With the mental part of the game‚ the boys have to feel that this is one where we can spoil the party a bit. We can make it difficult for Nigeria.”
Baxter said stifling Nigeria in the opening 20 minutes could be crucial for Bafana.
“It will be big. The critical phases of the game are always important‚ and I think the first period in this game is a big one.
“Because that will either bring the crowd into the game‚ or it will take them out a bit.
“If the first 20 minutes are not what they had hoped‚ then immediately the crowd will make their displeasure felt‚ then they will be baying for blood. And I think that will be advantage us.”
The coach said Bafana’s two draws against Nigeria – including having held a 2-0 lead in Uyo – in the qualifiers for Afcon 2015‚ which SA reached at the defending champions’ expense‚ has helped chip away at the Eagles’ psychological advantage.
“I think that having been there and having gone through it‚ it gives the players a sense of calm. I don’t think we fear Nigeria as much as respect them‚” the coach said.
“The players have gone there‚ they’ve gone through the mill so to speak.
“They’re thinking that they have gone there‚ and maybe if they had hung on they could have gotten the result.”

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