Baxter wary of Bafana overconfidence
Posted: 7 November 2018 Time: 05:54 pm
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is hoping his charges have dispelled the belief that they cannot beat Nigeria but is also looking to guard against overconfidence in the camp.
Bafana are set to host the Super Eagles in the return leg of their Group E 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at the FNB Stadium on November 17.
Having been haunted by inconsistency during the ongoing campaign – shown in their goalless draws at home to Libya in September and away to Seychelles last month – it is as yet known what sort of side supporters can expect come next weekend.
However, their 2-0 win away in Uyo last year ended a 25-year winless streak against the West African giants and Baxter hopes that performance will serve as a reminder of their capabilities ahead of the upcoming encounter.
“I hope it [that 2-0 win in Uyo] has broken the – almost –belief that we can’t beat Nigeria. But that comes from somewhere deep down, not just from a load of words but your actions on the field,” said Baxter.
“When looking in their eyes, you’ve got to make sure that it is deep, deep down that you really believe it. So, I hope it’s broken that.”
While it certainly could serve as a confidence booster, the Brit is also wary of the possible dangers of thinking too highly of themselves ahead of the match, as he stresses the importance of referencing all their recent showings since June last year.
“I also hope that it’s not made us feel as if we’re the kings of the world, because we’re not. We have a long, long way to go,” he continued.
“But, if we play well and we produce good South African football, a lot of motivation and a lot of focus on a game-plan that will also stop them from playing, then we have a chance.
“I think, if anything, we should learn that there’s a lot of hard work behind it. If players are not prepared to do that – the word ‘sacrifice’ comes to mind – then we’ll maybe get the same sort of results that we fear getting, because we’ve had too many of them [in the recent past].
“So, again, we learn from every event and I hope that we’ve learnt enough so that we don’t reproduce what we don’t want to see.”