Annoyed Stuart Baxter slams fans' 'negative energy'

South Africa's Themba Zwane goes in with a challenge on Ivory Coast's Franck Kessie during their Afcon Group D match at Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt, on June 24 2019. Image: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
South Africa's Themba Zwane goes in with a challenge on Ivory Coast's Franck Kessie during their Afcon Group D match at Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt, on June 24 2019. Image: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Image: Image: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter made every effort to pay respect to the qualities of his team's opponents Namibia ahead of what he admitted was SA's must-win African Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group D match-up tonight (kickoff 10pm) at Cairo's Al Salam Stadium.

Baxter was clearly peeved at having to put his own players in a bubble to try to protect them from some of the public backlash in SA to Bafana having lost their opening game 1-0 against Ivory Coast at the same venue on Monday.

There were positives from the game. Baxter, though, was having none of the suggestion that, get his attack functioning, and Bafana should dismantle Namibia.

Ricardo Mannetti's Brave Warriors kept Morocco at bay for 89 minutes of Monday's Group D opener.

"I think I can understand when you say the atmosphere back home is negative, because when I came into the job two years ago it was negative," Bafana Bafana coach said.

"And it's been negative all the way through. Even though the Ivory Coast game is the first we have lost in one-and-a-half years, still it was negative.

"And still people are talking that now we will dismantle Namibia, which is totally disrespectful towards a team who have qualified for Afcon and ran Morocco very close.

"So, yes, there were positives to take out of the game against Ivory Coast - 100 percent.

"I think we need to get a touch of reality. That was a top class [Ivory Coast] team we were playing.

"It annoys me sometimes when we hear of the 56 million behind us. When in reality, there's not 56 million behind us. There's 56 million waiting to chop our heads off."

Mannetti, who parked the bus against Morocco, has made it an open secret he views Bafana as the team for Namibia to beat in Group D to achieve their aim of a first Nations Cup victory in the Warriors' third finals.

Highlands Park deep striker Peter Shalulile and Bidvest Wits winger Deon Hotto can cause problems for SA's defence.

SA v Namibia previous meetings

1998: Namibia 3-2 SA (Cosafa Cup)

1998: SA 4-1 Namibia (Afcon tournament)

1999: Namibia 1-1 SA (Cosafa Cup)

2006: Namibia 0-1 SA (Friendly)

2008: Namibia 0-1 SA (Cosafa Cup)

2010: SA 1-1 Namibia (Friendly)

2013: SA 2-1 Namibia (Cosafa Cup)

2017: SA 1-0 Namibia (Cosafa Cup)

2018: Namibia 1-4 SA (Cosafa Cup)

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