Stuart Baxter guards against conjecture of Bafana Bafana newcomers
Posted: 27 March 2018 Time: 17:00
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has guarded against getting ahead of himself in placing high expectations on the youngsters who performed well in four-nations tournament.
Bafana walked away champions of the competition in Ndola over the weekend, after beating Angola and hosts Zambia, as a few new faces were introduced to the setup.
Senior international debuts were handed to the likes of Siphesihle Ndlovu, Reeve Frosler, Teboho Mokeona and Lebo Mothiba who, in particular, lead the side from the front.
Mothiba bagged two goals in his two appearances as he played a huge role in securing the honours for his country, but Baxter has refused to get carried away by the promise the Lille forward showed.
“I understand when we bring in some of the young ones and get positive results, especially someone like Lebo, who scores two goals, it’s easy to clutch at that and say, ‘This is the golden bullet’,” said Baxter.
“I think we need to have patience with all the youngsters, because we have more of them and more experienced players that will be vying for a place in the team in future.”
The 22-year-old, who previously represented South Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympic games, has already drawn praise from former mentor Owen da Gama, and the British tactician has since shared his own personal view of the robust frontman.
“I think Lebo in particular is a sort-of non-South African-South African, if I may put it that way – he’s not like Ryan [Moon], who’s quick and a bit slippery,” added Baxter.
“But Lebo is in-your-face, he was wrestling them. He’s got a bit to come in terms of his coordination, but when he gets it right he’s a hell of a target. He holds it up really well.
“What he does is, sometimes we go on transition really quick and tend to get ahead of ourselves and it sort of peters out, but when we hit Lebo, he’s like ‘bang!’ – and he holds it.
“As we get closer to him, we get more men in attack, so as a change-up he’s very, very good. He’s got a lot to learn but I think he’s a raw diamond, and if he gets the opportunities he’s going to be an asset for us.”