Afcon 2019: Bafana Bafana are finally hitting their stride - Baxter

The Bafana mentor has shared his thoughts on why Bafana struggled during the early stages of the competition

After a slow start to their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign, Bafana Bafana are finally hitting their stride, according to head coach Stuart Baxter.

During the Group Stage, Bafana were less than convincing and tasted two defeats, only progressed by virtue of being one of the four best third-placed teams.

However, their form mattered little against Egypt, as Bafana produced a performance which Baxter could only describe as ‘one of the biggest results South Africa have had in Afcon’ as they bundled the Pharaohs out of the competition.

Nonetheless, speaking after the match where Thembinkosi Lorch stole the show with a late goal, Baxter reflected on his side’s initial struggles, suggesting it was down to a lack of adequate preparation before the tournament,

“When we came to Egypt our preparations were destroyed because we didn’t play any games. Teams withdrew, we played 45 minutes against Ghana, that was our preparation,” Baxter told the media.

“So really we’ve been preparing in Afcon. So now I think the players are moving forward, we are learning. I think at the moment, we are in a good space."

The win over Egypt has subsequently set up a meeting with familiar foes Nigeria, and Baxter is relishing the opportunity to come up against a team who they faced in the qualifiers for Afcon 2019.

“We know Nigeria, they have fantastic players but so do Egypt, so do Ivory Coast and so do Morocco. We know there is a chance for us,” he revealed.  

Article continues below

“It's a difficult game, Nigeria, they came back from 2-1 down (against Cameroon) to win 3-2 so that shows character.

“They scored three goals which means they are dangerous. We know Nigeria because we played against them in the qualification.

“I think both Nigeria and South Africa will think that they can win so it will be a good game for the spectators."