Bafana Bafana will go to Nigeria with a positive mindset and trying to get a result‚ Stuart Baxter said of his imposing first assignment against South Africa’s nemesis team, the Super Eagles.
Baxter, who named his first squad yesterday since taking over as head coach, was realistic and said he would accept a draw as a positive result in Bafana’s June 10 opening qualifier for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations against a team South Africa have never beaten in a competitive match.
“Everybody wants to get off on the right foot‚” Baxter said of his first assignment after replacing Ephraim “Shakes”Mashaba as Bafana coach.
“So it will be important in many ways. “I heard someone talking about our Under-20 team and saying: ‘These are future Bafana players and you must be disappointed about their dismal showing [at the Fifa U20 World Cup].’
“I think it’s a little bit like that. We are going to Nigeria. They are probably the strongest opposition who we could get on their own patch. “So is it a disaster if we lose?
No. But we want to win. I don’t think it’s been dismal for the U20 boys. “Shoots are starting to show from the development programme.
They’ve done great to get there‚ gain that experience and take it home.
“They didn’t beat Japan – I’ll tell you what‚ Japan are a very good team. And they didn’t beat Italy.
“Well guys‚ if I get you to Russia [next year] and we lose 1-0 to Brazil in the first game‚ and you [the media] say ‘We ’re a disgrace’‚ that’s just something I talk about when I say negativity.
“We ’ve got to really look at the positives. So for me‚ we’re going to go to Nigeria‚ we’re going to do our best to win the game.
“Don’t be under any illusion that we’re not going to go there and sell ourselves very dearly. I want to get off to a good start. But for the qualification‚ Nigeria is away. If we win‚ fantastic, if we draw‚ not bad.
“And we do want at least a point from the game. We ’re not going to try and shut up shop. We are going to try to get a good result.”