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Baxter expects Zebras to kick Bafana again in Francistown

By Marc Strydom | 2017-07-13 15:33:56.0

Stuart Baxter expects a similar kicking treatment from the Zebras of Botswana in Saturday’s African Nations Championship (Chan) away qualifier as what Bafana Bafana experienced in the Cosafa Cup this month.

Botswana have appointed a new coach since they were beaten 2-0 in a Cosafa plate semifinal in Moruleng on June 4 by SA in a match marked by physical horseplay from the Zebras‚ where Baxter was red-carded for swearing at the fourth official.

Oris Radipotsane took charge of that game as caretaker after the departure of Englishman Peter Butler to join PSL club Platinum Stars.

Botswana have since appointed former Santos‚ Bay United and Thanda Royal Zulu coach Major David Bright‚ so titled due to his once army rank‚ as head coach.

Baxter‚ though‚ expects Botswana to be physical again in the first leg of his developmental Bafana’s Chan qualifier in Francistown‚ 400 kilometres north of Gaborone‚ near the border with Zimbabwe.

“It was a very physical game. I think they got a lot of stick (at home) not because they lost to us‚ but because of the way they played. People in Botswana don’t want them to play that way‚” Baxter said on Thursday recalling this month’s Cosafa meeting with Botswana.

“Now‚ from all reports the coach who’s taken over is not different in his approach. So I’m expecting a bit of a bruising game.

“I’m expecting that we’re going to have to protect the ball with our physicality. And we’re going to have to shift it quickly‚ otherwise we’re going to get turned over.

“So‚ yeah‚ I think it will be a tough game. But we have an experience of them‚ and we know that if we play well‚ we know we can get a result to bring back here.

“And it’s two legs. So we know that if we win 1-0 it’s not over‚ and if we lose 1-0 it’s not over.

“It’s a bit like the Champions League. You’ve got to bring them back here with a result that you can play on.”

Lehlogonolo Masalesa has been withdrawn from Baxter’s squad as the Confederation of African Football (Caf) have ruled the former Orlando Pirates midfielder ineligible for the Chan‚ a tournament for local-based players.

The defensive midfielder had been recently out of contract with previous club Larissa in Greece‚ but Caf rules state a player has to be registered with a club in his country to participate in the Chan.

- TimesLIVE