Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has welcomed their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations group placing alongside Morocco, Ivory Coast and Namibia.
Bafana are set to return to the continental stage for the first time since 2015 when they travel to Egypt in June, but many have their wits about them regarding Group D.
After being placed in Pot 3 ahead of Friday’s draw, it was anticipated that Bafana would not have it easy against two top nations from Pot 1 and 2, and it has turned out exactly in that manner.
However, Baxter has taken a positive outlook on the matter, highlighting that the two powerhouses will themselves not feel comfortable alongside Bafana, while he relished the stern test his squad will face.
“The draw on the surface is not an easy one, it’s got two of the top nations on the continent and a local derby [with Namibia],” said Baxter.
“I think other people have been looking at our group, thinking it’s a bit of a ‘Group of Death’, which is good for us because that means they rate us as a dangerous opponent.
“But at the same time as it’s a difficult group, I think it’s a great challenge and a good group for us in terms of what this squad needs at the moment – it needs this sort of challenge to know where they stand."
He further added: “This will be a great experience for the squad we’ve got at the moment, in their development, and it’s one that we can have a real go at without feeling any sort of inhibitions.
“There are other groups that, I would say, are easier – Group A and B, I think the top teams in their look more secure. I don’t think Morocco or Ivory Coast will feel secure.
“I think they will feel that we’re a dangerous opponent, in the same way I think Namibia – in the way they’ve qualified, will not be an easy target for anybody. So, in terms of the group, I think it’s a difficult one but a good one.”