Stuart Baxter banking on Bafana Bafana trump card in do-or-die AFCON qualifier against Libya


Bafana face a do-or-die AFCON qualifier in which they will need to register at least a point against The Mediterranean Knights in their final Group E clash in Sfax, Tunisia on Sunday.

Having failed to beat the North African side in their first leg encounter on home soil in September last year, many have doubts as to whether the national team can pull off the necessary result away from home.

However, while admitting Bafana need to do better than what they did at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Baxter insists they have established a different approach that may work in their favour this time around.

“Looking at the game, which I have done many times since then, I wouldn’t say they pierced us with their good play more than once – I think, and that was with flank play,” said Baxter.

“Watching them play well in their other games, their successes were down the flanks. What they did do [against us] was to utilise some of our mistakes when we were getting impatient and stretching ourselves.

“So, there’s a lesson to be learnt there. I’ve said, without revealing our strategy, one of the things we’ll have to do is negate their flank play, and the other one is that they didn’t have two of our strikers against their two centre-backs on that night [in Durban].

“I remember we played 4-3-3, and I think our three midfield players sat too deep and didn’t get up in support, so they played virtually 4-v-3 [four defenders vs three attackers] in their last third.

“And I remember Percy played at nine in the first half, had some runs but became a bit flat so we moved him wide and brought on Bradley Grobler in the second half, but we didn’t give him the service.

“The strike partnership of Lebo and Percy as our two through the middle, they haven’t played against, so I think yes, we will have to be better and definitely be strong mentally. “But I think we can do that because we should base that confidence on the fact that these are people who have not been able to score against us, for one, and we’ve not been beaten.

“So, we’ve got to take that and say, ‘We think we’re better, we know more about you, so if we execute our game-plan we have a very good chance [of winning].’”

Kick-off of the mammoth clash is set for 19h00 (SA time).