Andrew Rabutla: Libya cannot beat Bafana Bafana in Durban

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The former PAOK Salonika centre-back has expressed confidence on the national team as they meet Libya on Saturday afternoon

Former Bafana Bafana defender Andrew Rabutla says the national team cannot afford to lose their 2019 Caf African Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya on Saturday.

The 46-year-old former Jomo Cosmos man reckons that coach Stuart Baxter has assembled a strong team despite suffering some injury setbacks in his camp.

“It's a very important encounter for the national team and one they cannot afford to lose because we have not been qualifying for major tournaments,” Rabutla told Goal.

“We are going down as a national team in terms of Fifa rankings and that is not good for the nation because we have many talented players and resources to do well in any tournament,” he noted.

“Bafana must just get the full three points and build up on their win against Nigeria. It's very crucial to win at home and boost their chances of making it to the next tournament,” reacted the man also known as 'Jaws of Life'.

The former Ezenkosi assistant coach added that Baxter is a great coach, saying the fact that he travels around the country to watch the Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches means he will not struggle to plan for the Mediterranean Knights.

Rabutla has praised the coach for bringing in suitable replacements for the injured players such as Hlompho Kekana and Bongani Zungu among others.

“I think any player is open to suffering injuries and the coach has made some good replacements in bringing players such as (Tiyani) Mabunda and (Vincent) Pule, who is young and hungry to make his name at international level,” aid the retired defender.

“Football is a team sport and this is a national team. So, I don't think we have to panic because a certain player is not available,” Rabutla continued.

“There are many young players who can learn and do well when the likes of Kekana are not available. We also need to have faith in the youngsters and the coach is on the right track, but he deserves our support,” he urged.

A look at the visitors, Libya demolished Seychelles 5-1 in their opening match, but Rabutla has expressed confidence in Baxter's back line.

He said skipper Thulani Hlatshwayo is a great leader and predicts that Libya cannot score against the 1996 African champions in Durban.

“Yes, there is a lot that is happening in their country, but we cannot say they are a small team or read too much into their problems back home,” responded the former defender.

“There is no small country or team in football anymore, but with all that, they cannot score against Bafana since we have guys like Hlatshwayo, (Ramahlwe) Mphahlele and others,” he said.

“We are solid at the back, but my only concern is scoring goals. Libya can play, but we will win this one and we just have to score an early goal and settle down,” concluded Rabutla.

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