Baxter: This game is massive


Stuart Baxter has warned his Bafana Bafana players against underestimating their next opponents in the Africa Cup of Nations.

After losing 1-0 to West African giants Ivory Coast in their opening Group D match on Monday, Bafana take on Namibia this evening, determined to get points on the board to enhance their chances of progressing to the knockout phase of the competition, where they would join the likes of Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria who have already booked themselves a spot in the next round with one match to spare.

Bafana were not convincing at all against the Ivorians, particularly in the final third where they created very little to threaten their opponents. They need an improved performance to overcome a Namibian side that cannot for one bit be underestimated.

“Ivory Coast is the first game we have lost in one-and-half years and talking of dismantling Namibia is totally disrespectful towards a team that qualified for AFCON and ran Morocco very, very close,” Baxter said.

“Yes, our strikers didn’t fire on the day and we didn’t create a lot of goal chances. Even then, Tyson [Thulani Hlatshwayo] had a good chance, Percy [Tau] went through and could have had a penalty. We had chances but they were not enough for us,” he said.

“I do understand the mood back home but that is nothing new and let’s be honest, that was a top team [Ivory Coast] we were playing. There were some positives but we were not really happy with our overall performance and yes, this [Namibia game] is a massive game for us.

“The onus is on us to produce good football. If we play the way we are capable of, we can win the game but I will not come here and disrespect our opponents,” he said.