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Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter not focused solely on Senegal's Sadio Mane

Posted: 7 November 2017 Time: 13:00

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says his game plan will be focused on winning the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Senegal and not about man-marking star player Sadio Mane.

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Mane returned from a hamstring injury two weeks ahead of schedule and was a key performer in Liverpool’s 4-1 victory over West Ham United at the weekend. Initially it looked as though the player would miss out on the back-to-back matches against Bafana, but he available.

Baxter, however, will not have sleepless nights trying to come up with a plan to stop the former Southampton man.

"The one thing we were considering is the availability of Sadio Mane; is he going to play or is he not going to play? To be fair, I have tried to expect him to play all the time," he said.

"It shouldn’t be an issue for us, we should have our game plan and he will be just a facet in that plan. We should not be thinking to man-mark him. Our game plan is going to be based on the fact that we want to win the game, not based on the fact that we are scared of what they can do to us. We have to try find that balance, with or without Mane. We need to find that balance of defending strongly and attacking cleverly and by using the assets at our disposal."

Bafana have to win Friday's match, to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the World Cup when they go into their final Group D match in Dakar next Tuesday.

"For this game, I want us to be thinking that we have one game. It’s on South African soil, it’s 90 minutes and we need to believe we can win the game.

"Am I certain that we are going to win the game? I can’t be, but I really believe we can win the game. Can we knock them over? Yes we can. We have to respect them, but they certainly won’t be intimidating to us. We will prepare properly and go for it big time."

Article by: Tshepang Mailwane
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