Hlanti: Baxter's strategy worked wonders

Bafana

READ: 'There is progress in SA football'

The national team beat the Libyans 2-1 to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in June and the Bidvest Wits wideman admits they had to dig deep to come out with that victory.

"Yeah it wasn't easy," Hlanti tells KickOff.com.

"I think the strategy Baxter came with worked wonders because it was the second time we've played them, of which maybe their expectations they thought we were going to come with the same formation.

"But the game was not easy, we played 3-5-2, it helped a lot. What also helped was listening to everything he said as a coach because we didn't have enough time preparing for this game as well as for the formation.

"It's something that we were also not expecting to happen. So in this period we had in the first day in camp that's when we realised which formation we were going to use. But that shows the response that exists towards us players. And the coach was so happy.

"They were attacking a lot but we tried to contain them. What helped us a lot at the back was communication and the understanding of what we were doing. So everyone had an input, from the players who were playing to the ones on the bench, technical staff... so we all went there motivated from the first day of camp. We knew what was our mission.

"To me football is football. If the game situation determines that you become harsh in other things, you have to. If you need to fight, you have to. We just need to be strong mentally each and every time, because when you go to Africa you need to prepare yourself because they play mind games over there.

"There were times where they threw plastic bottles onto the field, but we told ourselves that we didn't come here for a lot of things, the only thing we came here for was to play. And we were also not there for a draw.

"We must also stamp our authority. It's not about individuals but it's about the team collectively. We respect the coach's decisions, and us as players we are allowed to say our views here and there, and it works for us."

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