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Bafana Bafana Coach Sets Timeline to Frustrate Eagles



Bafana Bafana coach, Stuart Baxter, has identified two key periods in Saturday’s match that he wants his players to pay special attention to.
Sports Village Square gathered that the coach is focusing on the first 20 minutes in which he wants his players to put pressure on the Super Eagles.
That way, he believed the crowd at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium will be silenced. Analysing the past matches of South Africa, he said he discovered the team conceded late goals. He therefore wants the team to show some composure in the critical phases of Saturday’s match.
A report in Timeslive of South Africa reveals that conceding late goals‚ or letting slip a lead‚ has been a feature for the South African team. Some instances were cited.
“They held a 2-0 lead in Uyo in 2014 thanks to Tokelo Rantie’s brace but conceded late goals for a 2-2 draw in an Afcon 2015 qualifier.
“Bafana held a 1-0 lead in a World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou‚ conceding in the 91th minute for a draw.
“Now‚ in the opening match on the path to Cameroon 2019‚ new coach Baxter has worked on defending a final 10-minute period in the build-up to the match against South Africa’s nemesis team the Super Eagles.
“Yes‚ we’ve spoken about it. I think it’s looking at the clock and you stop playing to a degree‚” Baxter was quoted to have said.
“You start hoping and stop believing. I think we’ve just got to be braver and say‚ ‘Look‚ how do we deal with this game‚ how do we manage it?’
“There are certain things you can do. But what you don’t want to do is just be there on the field and not have a plan. We have dealt (in training) with a situation where we are leading.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) we put on a scenario where we were playing XI v XI in the afternoon and I sent one of the players off. And I said‚ ‘Right‚ you’re leading 1-0‚ what do you do’.
“We’ve approached that and they did it very well yesterday. We’ve approached how we would kill the game off if we were leading‚ and we’ve approached what we would do if we were chasing the game.
“So we’ve got a couple of ‘what if’ scenarios‚ and one of them is that last critical phase.”
Bafana and Nigeria are drawn with Seychelles and Libya in their Afcon qualifying Group E.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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