COMMENT: What Stuart Baxter needs to do differently against Seychelles

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Stuart Baxter & Molefi Ntseki Bafana Bafana v Libya, September 2018
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The Bafana Bafana mentor may need to tweak his game plan if they are to overcome Seychelles in the next two matches

Saturday’s clash involving Bafana Bafana and Seychelles is a must-win for Stuart Baxter’s men.

Failure to achieve maximum points will not only see the pressure mount on the Southern African nation, but it could potentially see them fail make the trip to Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019.

This leaves Baxter in a tricky situation as the clash will require him to alter his tactics as he looks to walk away from the FNB Stadium with all three points.

However, this is definitely not his most daunting task considering that Seychelles have conceded eight goals in two games.

Stuart Baxter, Bafana Bafana PS

Looking back at Baxter’s previous games, against Libya in particular, Bafana were set out very defensively with both Kamohelo Mokotjo and Dean Furman holding it down in the middle of the park.

Going into what can only be described as a more open affair against the Islanders, Baxter may not need that solidity in midfield. Rather Mokotjo’s ability to link defence and attack may be more suited. This will allow Bafana to be more offensive.

Granted that Baxter has never been known for playing the most attractive brand of attacking football, but even his percentage football approach should be able to thrive.  

While Seychelles and Libya may be as far apart as day and night in terms of footballing abilities, one similarity between the two is the fact that they both are happy to play on the counter attack.

Bafana made the mistake of being too casual against Libya, and instead of piling the pressure on them, they chose to be more calculated.

In a game such as this one, Bafana need to be more ruthless and perhaps Baxter needs to go with a two-pronged attack.

Lebogang Mothiba, South Africa

Percy Tau should partner Lebo Mothiba upfront as the two attackers are not only brimming with confidence due to their domestic form as they are currently setting the European stage alight, but they could potentially complement each other.

While Tau is more of a modern day No.10, playing with a bullish attacker like the 22-year-old Mothiba may be just what fans have been baying for.

The forward’s pace and power alongside Tau could be integral to Bafana’s success, but again, it comes down to Baxter’s ambition.

The 65-year-old has always gone for a more conservative approach since he took over, and looking back, Bafana have struggled against coastal nations in particular.

Cape Verde and Madagascar have previously had Baxter’s number, but at least Bafana have got one thing right this time around, which is the fact that the clash will be played in Johannesburg and not Durban.

Bafana have come under massive criticism in the past for their choice of venue, but Baxter may have the odds in his favour going into the clash with Seychelles.

Considering that Bafana have back-to-back matches against the Pirates, a resounding victory at home will also demoralise the opposition and be a psychological blow to their already low confidence. 

This means Bafana should not just win the game, but they should win the game well in order to make a statement.  

Lastly, playing against Seychelles is an opportunity to play some of the younger players.

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This is not degrading the opposition, but a match of this calibre offers players such as Gift Links, who was recently called up or Phakamani Mahlambi an opportunity to dazzle.

As Pitso Mosimane recently suggested that his side lacked the ‘X-factor', Bafana on the other hand have not had that in quite some time.

That will not come from fielding the tried and tested players, but rather throwing youngsters into the deep end may be just what is needed for Bafana to become a giant that they once were.

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