Sun. Sep 27th, 2020

Bafana Bafana: Baxter eager to overcome preparation setbacks

bafana bafanaStuart Baxter says it’s now up to him to whip Bafana into shape, following another setback in their Afcon preparations.

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Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter is determined to see to it that his charges rise above a run-in to their Afcon campaign which has been fraught with setbacks.

The men’s senior national team opens its Afcon campaign on Monday, and run the risk of going in undercooked, having played just one pre-tournament friendly since their last competitive match in March.

This after the South African Football Association (Safa) failed to organise a match on home soil before their departure to Egypt, followed by Angola’s last-minute withdrawal from a friendly against Bafana which was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

The Palancas Negras cited lack of training as the reason for pulling out of the fixture, prompting Bafana to play a practice match among themselves in Cairo on the day.

Speaking after the cancelled match, Baxter said it was up to him to whip his charges into shape ahead of their opener against two-time winners Ivory Coast.

“Did I want us to have a game in South Africa before I left? Yes. Did I want our travel plans to be smoother? Definitely.

“Is it frustrating that the game against Angola was called off at the last minute? Of course.

“But my job now is to make sure that none of these issues passes on to the players, and I’ve got to make sure that we’re in the best possible shape to have three good games in this group.”

Bafana have been drawn in a tough Group D against Ivory Coast, Morocco and Namibia.

Following Monday’s encounter, they square off against Namibia on Friday, 28 June before rounding off the group stage with a meeting against Morocco three days later.

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