BAFANA WON’T BE RE­LAX­ING AGAINST ZE­BRAS

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - MO­HAU RA­MASHIDJA

“I DON’T think there’s a sin­gle soul in our squad who wants to let our coun­try down.”

This was Cole Alexan­der’s, who cur­rently in camp with a Bafana Bafana squad that will take on Botswana in to­mor­row’s 2018 African Na­tions Cham­pi­onship (Chan) qual­i­fier clash out in Moru­leng Sta­dium (kick-off 3pm), re­sponse when asked how the se­nior na­tional side were feel­ing lead­ing up to the sec­ond round, sec­ond leg tie.

South Africa beat Botswana 2-0 in an away clash last week­end, a re­sult which saw them putting a foot in the third and fi­nal round of the qual­i­fiers.

The Su­perS­port United mid­fielder, who fea­tured twice for the se­nior na­tional side when they played Botswana in a space of ten days these past two weeks, said it was cru­cial that they stepped it up a notch in this clash, as they can­not af­ford to risk a de­feat against the Ze­bras.

Stu­art Bax­ter’s charges knocked Botswana out in the Cosafa Plate semi­fi­nal in the Cosafa Cup tour­na­ment which took place two weeks ago, be­fore travelling to Fran­cis­town to come back with yet an­other 2-0 re­sult again in a Chan match.

“We played re­ally well away from home,” Alexan­der, pic­tured, said. “Our struc­ture was very good and we were solid through­out the match. But hav­ing said that, I still be­lieve that there’s still a whole lot of im­prove­ment we re­ally need to work on. We also need to re­main grounded and give it our best in (to­mor­row’s) home game.

“In my opin­ion,” Alexan­der added. “We were more dis­ci­plined in our Chan first leg com­pared to our Cosafa match against them. We worked more as unit this time around and we were much more tac­ti­cally sound in that game. And this is all thanks to coach Bax­ter. He’s a great coach and a good mo­ti­va­tor. Ev­ery­body just wants to do well un­der him.

“The spirit in the camp is very high. We are all fo­cussed, though ev­ery­body is en­joy­ing them­selves in ev­ery train­ing ses­sion. But we know that it’s of ut­most im­por­tance that we get the re­quired re­sult in or­der for us to go through and we are all look­ing for­ward to the match.”

Bafana will be with­out Su­perS­port’s ris­ing star Te­boho Mokoena in this tie, as the 20-year old was re­called by his club for pre-sea­son train­ing which started yes­ter­day, while Michael Mor­ton was ropped in as a quick re­place­ment.

Bax­ter stated that he would con­tinue mix­ing ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers with the younger ones, as his pri­mary ob­jec­tive is to make sure that he gives younger play­ers as much in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence as pos­si­ble.

“We made a com­mit­ment of mix­ing ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers with in­ex­pe­ri­enced ones in this tour­na­ment,” Bax­ter said. “Cosafa went okay with the younger squad we had there com­pared to the one we cur­rently have now.”

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