Baxter: South Africa players ready for Egypt challenge
Stuart Baxter, head coach of South Africa during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations South Africa Training at the Aero Sports Complex, Cairo on the 04 July 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Friday Jul 05, 2019. 15:00
South Africa coach Stuart Baxter says his players didn’t need any further motivation when they take on the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) hosts Egypt on Saturday.
Cairo International Stadium is expected to be filled to the rafters on Saturday, not only to watch the hosts but Bafana Bafana are one of the most popular teams at this showpiece.
The British coach said the tie itself was enough to motivate any player and his charges would be fired up for this particular encounter.
“It is a great challenge and that is what the whole squad has been looking for. I think the AFCON Groups have been very tight, our group has been really tight,” Baxter said.
“It was seconds away from almost every game being a different game, a different result so the people will think we have gone through the back door or whatever, but we were seconds away in a couple of games from going through on our own power and people would have said that is a great performance.
“But that is what our game is about. It is about perceptions. One referee’s decision or one mistake will change perception but we have this opportunity now to play against the host nation in front of a lot of people in a very, very hostile environment. And that is when you want people to stand up and I think the group is looking forward to it,” said Baxter.
“The main motivation is if they want to do it and I think that is the main thing, that is going to be the motivation that they want very badly to get past this hurdle. I don’t think I have to change anything; I think we have to strengthen some things.
“Our attacking players have not been at their best, our defensive play has been quite good but we need to add to that and against the quality of Egypt I guess it will be a different game altogether,” added Baxter.