South Africa goes into the Saturday’s second leg Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya 2018 qualifier against Botswana with their chests pumped up and confidence sky high.
This follows Bafana Bafana’s 2-0 away victory over the Zebras in the first leg played in Francistown last week.
Few weeks ago, the two sides squared off at the regional COSAFA Cup at the Moruleng Stadium, the same venue for Saturday’s clash where the hosts edged Botswana by 1-0 in a highly physical encounter.
The Zebras will have to dig deep against the new look Bafana Bafana side led by former Kazier Chiefs and Supersport United man, Stuart Baxter who is determined to do well in his second spell in South Africa’s hottest coaching seat.
Backed by the 2-0 cushion, Baxter will most likely give some of the newly called up players a run with the aim of widening the pool of players he can chose from moving forward.
Players such as Malebogo Modise and Sandile Mthethwa who represented South Africa in the U-20 AFCON in Zambia will most likely get the nod while the likes of Riyaad Norodien, Mario Booysen and in-form shot stopper, Bruce Bvuma are expected to retain their places.
However, Baxter has cautioned his charges not to be complacent against the wounded Zebras who will want to rewrite their poor record against the Southern African neighbours having only beaten them twice in 12 encounters.
We cannot afford to rest on our laurels and think it is all wrapped up. We obviously won’t deny that the 2-0 advantage does relieve a bit of pressure but we need to remain focused and finish off the job on Saturday, said Baxter.
We have a good opportunity of giving some of the other players a run and having to do it at home makes it even better. We cannot make too many changes that will destabilize the team but without a doubt, we have to blood in new faces and ensure that everyone gets a chance, he added.
Should Botswana fail to cause an upset, Bafana will most likely set up a meeting with Zambia in the next round of the qualifiers. Chipolopolo come up against Swaziland in the second round with a comfortable 4-0 advantage.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football