Afcon 2019: Five things we learned ahead of South Africa's clash against Namibia

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Bafana are set to take on the Brave Warriors on Friday, but what lessons can they take out from their 2019 Afcon opener?

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    #1 Goals win games

    Bafana Bafana might have had the majority of the ball as well as touches, but they lacked penetration to get beyond Cote d'Ivoire's last line of defence.

    Stuart Baxter's men didn't have a single shot on target and against Namibia, they will need to improve on this.

    Bafana need to play with a lot more aggression and desire to go forward, as sitting back won't hurt their opponents.  

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    #2 Baxter needs to change things up

    In the opening game against the Elephants, Kamohelo Mokotjo was used alongside Dean Furman.

    While the duo's presence brought about stability to the midfield, it did come at a price, as the team lacked creativity.

    It was only with about 15 minutes to go did Baxter look to change things around with the  introduction ofSibusiso Vilakazi.

    The Bafana technical team needs to be more prompt with their changes and rectify mistakes as soon as possible as there are no second chances in tournaments like these. 

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    #3 Williams could be key for Bafana

    When it was announced that Itumeleng Khune would not recover in time for the tournament, not many would have had Ronwen Williams as their first choice considering his previous performances in a national team jersey. 

    While he has been phenomenal at club level, he has struggled to really bring the same form to the national team set up, and this is why Darren Keet was expected to be the No.1 in Egypt

    However, Baxter felt that Williams deserved a chance and he did not let down his coach.

    The SuperSport United keeper showed why he is regarded as one of the best keepers in South Africa as he came to his side's rescue on at least two occasions against Cote d'Ivoire.

    His distribution is also something that is quite often underestimated, and as he grows in confidence that could be a weapon that Bafana could utilise.  

  4. #4 Bafana need to be more creative

    In their opener, Bafana's football was by no means attractive.

    South African football is known for its swagger, but there was nothing like that on offer.

    Baxter might need to let go of the reins slightly and allow the likes of Themba Zwane and Percy Tau to express themselves. 

    In order to achieve this Bafana also need to cut down on the number of long balls played from the midfield.

    This tactic has become far too predictable and against more physical sides they have struggled to influence the game. 

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    #5 Hlatshwayo's set piece threat

    A lot can be said about Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo's defensive attributes but against Cote d'Ivoire, there were signs of his threat upfront, which he showcases regularly at club level. 

    Aside from the solitary effort which missed the target in the last game, he was a nuisance in the box and this could be a potential plan B, especially against teams who do not read set pieces well.