Baxter mulls over options against Libya

Stuart Baxter is reluctant to show his hand early.
Stuart Baxter is reluctant to show his hand early.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Stuart Baxter will wait until the eve of next month's crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya to decide on his approach for a match that South Africa do not really have to win.

Needing only a draw to qualify for the continental finals later this year, the Bafana Bafana coach said last week he would have a "Plan A and a Plan B" for the final Group E match, set to take place on March 22 in Tunisia.

Bafana are two points ahead of the Libyans, who must inflict the first loss on the South Africans in these qualifiers to book a ticket to the finals in Egypt.

"Everything we say now has to be reduced because I want the Libyans to wonder how we will approach the game. I won't advertise my intentions," Baxter said.

"We could go there and park the bus and say break us down. We can also say let's take all the scenarios away from this game and back ourselves to play normally. We are undefeated in the group. We have conceded one goal - an own goal to Nigeria. So there's a basis to say on a normal day we back ourselves to get the result we want."

Bafana and Libya played to a 0-0 draw in their first-leg clash late last year but the North Africans have since gone on to become the group's top scorers with 15 goals from five games, suggesting that a conservative approach might be the best option for Baxter.

"We could try and get a goal in the first 15 minutes and retreat into a shell. We won't make a decision until the last moments just before the game. I first want to see the form of our players, who do we have on the field. But certainly we will have a Plan A and a Plan B if we go a goal down or ahead."

Baxter will name his squad next month. The fact that the Premier Soccer League has agreed to shift matches initially scheduled for the weekend of March 15-17 will enable him to assemble his team earlier and have almost a week's training in Tunisia.

He expects Bongani Zungu, Keagan Dolly, Dean Furman and Bradley Grobler to all be fit and available for the match.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.