Discussing tactics: What Bafana Bafana should do to beat Libya

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Baxter is known for his transition football while switching formations in a short space of time, and this is what Bafana need against Libya

Libya needs to win, South Africa does not, but there's everything to play for by both nations in Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier in Tunisia

A draw would be enough to see Bafana Bafana seal their qualification to the Afcon finals in Egypt, while a win would be a bonus for Stuart Baxter's charges. 

However, Bafana need to attack from the onset and not wait for the Libyans to score first as that will put them under immense pressure throughout the encounter. 

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Bafana are surely ruing the goalless draw away to Seychelles late last year, and they know that they would have possibly been safe by now. 

While a draw would still be enough as indicated above, the South Africans must play to win to restore the lost pride. That aside, they also have to be mentally strong if they are to go to Egypt and stamp their authority as one of Africa's powerhouses. 

With Libya seemingly a tough nut to crack at 'home' in this Afcon qualifying campaign, Baxter must make sure that he fields his strongest, attacking starting line-up to avoid being disappointed come the end of 90 minutes. 

Now, let's take a look at what the team should do tactically in order to beat Libya.  


ATTACK, ATTACK AND ATTACK 


Mamelodi Sundowns, Themba Zwane & Percy Tau

South Africa is blessed with quality attacking players in Percy Tau, Themba Zwane and Lebo Mothiba among others - the majority of whom are plying their trade abroad, and this is where Baxter and his technical team should capitalise on. 

Tau has been head and shoulders above the rest in the current Bafana squad, especially in this campaign as he proved too much to handle for his markers. 

There's also Zwane, who cracked the nod due to his attacking prowess and eye for goal at club level. Tau and Zwane know each other very well and Baxter should take advantage of that understanding and make sure he plays them both. 

The duo can create and score goals, and with either Lars Veldwijk or Lebo Mothiba upfront, South Africa can never go wrong in their quest to score at least two early goals to unsettle the Libyans. 

The Mediterranean Knights defence is vulnerable when under pressure from opposition attackers, and they are not as solid as they should be. It is for this reason they have conceded nine goals in five matches thus far.  


 AVOID SET-PIECES AND CROSSES 


Bafana PS

The Libyans are good in set-pieces and crosses, and this was evident when they narrowly lost 3-2 to Nigeria in 2018.

Bafana have lanky defenders, who can deal with the hosts but they could find themselves in big trouble if they rest on their laurels and think Libya won't take the game to them. 

South Africa may have conceded just once so far in the qualifiers, but that was largely due to their proper communication in defence and Itumeleng Khune's contribution. 

And with Khune out injured, proper communication is likely to be one of the missing factors in the Bafana defence, and if they allow Libya to enjoy freedom in front of their penalty box, they could pay the heavy price. 

Bafana must maintain the same discipline that saw them keep four clean sheets in the previous five qualifying matches by making sure that Libya doesn't get even close to whoever will start in goal on Sunday night. 


 TIGHTEN MIDFIELD 


 Bafana Bafana, Hlompho Kekana

Fielding both Hlompho Kekana and Dean Furman will be of paramount importance as they will offer protection to the back four. The two defensive midfielders are also ballplayers, who can keep the Libyans busy on the night. 

They will also need the help of Bongani Zungu even though the Amiens star isn't 100% fit. 

A three-man midfield for an away match is exactly what Bafana needed to outnumber Libya while allowing the two full-backs to play as wing-backs. 

This would give either Thulani Serero or Thembinkosi Lorch freedom to roam behind the strikers alongside Zwane and Tau in support of either Veldwijk and Mothiba in the final. 

Kekana and Furman usually drift back to assist in defence, and this will ensure that Bafana have a four-man defence at all times especially when the full-backs have gone up in the attack.   

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