Lekgwathi backs Gould-Daniels combo
Posted: 9 November 2017 Time: 08:00
Ex-Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana defender Lucky Lekgwathi feels Stuart Baxter should not tamper with the central defensive pairing for the upcoming Senegal clash.
Lekgwathi has backed Morgan Gould and Clayton Daniels to do the job for Bafana as they face The Lions of Teranga in a do-or-die outing at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday evening.
South Africa and Senegal will face off in back-to-back 2018 World Cup qualifiers during the current international break, with both sides out to secure a spot in Russia next year.
Baxter is faced with a headache for the first match, having welcomed back skipper Thulani Hlatshwayo from injury and Mulomowandau Mathoho from suspension, after the duo missed the 3-1 victory over Burkina Faso last month.
The experienced pair of Gould and Daniels held the fort in their absence, putting in a comanding display that leaves the coach with plenty to ponder in the build-up to the must-win game.
However, Lekgwathi believes the SuperSport United centre-back pairing should maintain their places in the team, as to avoid tampering with a winning combination.
"It's a difficult one because you know Bafana Bafana is a team of the supporters. If you change the winning combination [Gould and Daniels], obviously they're going to complain. If you don't change them they will say, 'why didn't you change them?'" Lekgwathi tells KickOff.com.
"Personally I think Baxter must just continue with the winning combination, because sometimes the chopping and changing kills us, even at some of the clubs you'll find that's why they are losing.
"I think with [Sadio] Mane and Keita Balde it might be tough because they are pacey players, and I'm not sure if we have defenders with pace, but the experience of Morgan and Clayton will be key."
There has yet to be any confirmation of Itumeleng Khune's availability from the Bafana doctors but, regardless whether he is fit or not, 'Phinda Mzala' feels this is more reason for Baxter to go with experience in the heart of defense.
"The experience of Khune, Morgan and Daniels is going to be crucial, and it won't only be up to Khune to command the defence. Three senior players will help a lot in marshalling the fullbacks to deal with Senegal's wingers," he adds.
"Morgan can help [Thamsanqa] Mkhize and Daniels can help [Sifiso] Hlanti or [Tebogo] Langerman, making it easier for Khune to concentrate on shot-stopping. But, no doubt, the commanding will have to come from all parts of defense."
The 41-year-old Bucs legend, who notched up 14 senior international caps during his playing career which spanned over 18 years, has thrown his weight behind the team and urged them to play for the pride of the nation and prove a point to the Senegalese.
"It's going to be a tough one, but obviously Senegal will be coming for a draw and we need to be very careful not to open shop for them. I know we'll need to attack to get a result, but we must be careful not to let them through at the back. Bafana must just go out to win for the nation, to show people beating them 2-1 last year was not a fluke," he concludes.