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Stuart Baxter: 'Don’t Play Like Headless Chickens Against Senegal'

Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana don’t have to play like “headless chickens” to see off Senegal in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.  But ...

Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana don’t have to play like “headless chickens” to see off Senegal in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. 

But the skilful South Africans have to demonstrate the sort of stability they showed against Nigeria and apply the pace they used to pummel Burkina Faso.

Bafana coach Stuart Baxter reckons self-belief and determination will see them through the crucial back-to-back qualifiers, starting in Polokwane next week.

On paper, Bafana seem to have a smaller chance of victory than their Senegalese opponents, a team featuring European-based players such as linchpin Sadio Mane.

But the Bafana coach has a different view regarding his opponents’ perceived strength and experience, although he does acknowledge the qualities of Mane in particular.
Bafana Coach, Stuart Baxter

“We are coming up against one of the best teams on the continent. Can we beat them? Yes,” said Baxter.

“Yes, they’ve got the who’s who of European football in that team – some fine players, undoubtedly. I don’t expect them to park the bus but we will pick our way through them.

“They’ve got midfielders who are energetic. We’ve got our own mettle and should use our movement to shake their defence. We have to take every opportunity.”

The first match could effectively seal Bafana’s fate as they have to win both their remaining matches to make it to Russia 2018.

Yet, with just a little self-belief, Bafana could make a return to the world’s biggest stage after missing out on the 2014 edition

Added Baxter: “The climate we created, both for ourselves and our supporters, is one of anxiety. There’s always a negative. But players don’t need to go to Twitter for self-belief. Our players are so obsessed with checking what the fans say about their performance.

“But if you depend on praise after success, then you wait for that praise to give your best performance again. If you don’t get that praise, your confidence dips.” - Daily Sun

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