Bax­ter’s hop­ing for good begin­ning to the game

Daily Dispatch - - Sport - NICK SAID

Bafana Bafana will be meet­ing Sey­chelles for just the sec­ond time when they clash in an African Na­tions Cup qual­i­fier at FNB Sta­dium on Satur­day but they have an en­vi­able record when fac­ing is­land na­tions from the South­ern African re­gion.

Bafana were hand­some 3-0 win­ners in their only pre­vi­ous meet­ing with Sey­chelles‚ a Cosafa Cup clash in neu­tral Mau­ri­tius in 2005 dur­ing coach Stu­art Bax­ter’s first spell in charge.

Bax­ter chose an ex­per­i­men­tal side on that oc­ca­sion‚ hand­ing de­buts to Lu­cas Th­wala‚ Robyn Jo­hannes‚ Rudi Isaacs‚ Cyril Zuma‚ Siyabonga Siphika‚ Rowen Hen­dricks‚ Ler­ato Cha­bangu and Katlego Mphela in a side that was cap­tained by Mbulelo Mabizela.

Mphela net­ted a brace within 16 min­utes to get his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer off to an ex­cel­lent start and Bax­ter will hope for a sim­i­lar begin­ning on Satur­day.

Cha­bangu added a third just be­fore half time but Bafana were un­able to add to their score in the sec­ond pe­riod dur­ing what was a most com­fort­able of vic­to­ries.

In all Bafana have met the is­land na­tions in South­ern Africa – Sey­chelles‚ Mau­ri­tius and Mada­gas­car – on 20 oc­ca­sions‚ with just a sin­gle de­feat.

That loss had come in the Cosafa Cup the year be­fore their Sey­chelles clash when Mau­ri­tius claimed a 2-0 vic­tory.

Shakes Mashaba had just been fired and it was a first game in charge for stand-in coach Styles Phumo. But de­spite field­ing the likes of Ja­cob Lekgetho‚ Ben­son Mhlongo‚ Mac­Beth Sibaya‚ Del­ron Buck­ley‚ John Moshoeu‚ Stan­ton Fred­er­icks‚ Sibu­siso Zuma and Jabu Pule (later Mahlangu)‚ Bafana were beaten.

It shows the is­landers have the abil­ity to sur­prise‚ as was the case when Bafana played Mada­gas­car at the Cosafa Cup in Polok­wane just this year.

That match ended in a 0-0 draw and a sec­ond-string Bafana lost on penal­ties‚ though they had more than enough chances dur­ing the game to se­cure the win.

Aside from that one loss‚ their 20 pre­vi­ous games against South­ern African is­land na­tions have re­sulted in 14 wins and five draws‚ with 30 goals scored and just five con­ceded‚ all against Mau­ri­tius.

Satur­day af­ter­noons match will be broad­cast live on Su­per­Sport 4 and 10, see page 25.

It shows the is­landers have the abil­ity to sur­prise‚ as was the case when Bafana played Mada­gas­car in the Cosafa Cup

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