Afcon 2019: What changes must South Africa coach Stuart Baxter make vs. Namibia?

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Bafana will be searching for their first win at the Africa Cup of Nations, but what changes should the coach make against the Brave Warriors?

The odds are heavily stacked in favour of South Africa in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group D match against Namibia on Friday.

However, the Brave Warriors showed that they are no pushovers against a much-fancied Morocco side, who snatched a late 1-0 win in their opener thanks to an own goal last weekend.

On the other hand, Bafana Bafana produced a timid performance as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to a star-studded Ivory Coast side in their maiden game in Egypt on Monday.

Stuart Baxter surely needs to tweak his seleection in order to mastermind Namibia's downfall, but what changes must the Brit make?


CREATIVITY


Bafana Bafana, Thulani Serero

Bafana began the game against the Elephants with a midfield two of Dean Furman and Kamohelo Mokotjo, who are both defensive midfielders by trade, as Baxter adopted a cautious approach.

The midfield lacked creativity in breaking down stubborn opponents, with Switzerland-based central midfielder Serey Die effectively stamping his authority in the middle of the park.

Baxter could have introduced Thulani Serero, who is an established central creative midfielder, but the former Kaizer Chiefs coach opted to bring in forwards Lars Veldwijk and Sibusiso Vilakazi instead.

Vitesse Arnhem player Serero also has an eye for goal, having netted twice for South Africa, and with him replacing the injured Furman in midfield, it would bring more creativity as Bafana search for their first goal in Egypt.

Furthermore, strikers Lebogang Mothiba and Percy Tau were left frustrated as they struggled to impose themselves in the game with no adequate supply from midfield, and Serero could get the best out of either player.

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COMMUNICATION


Bafana Bafana, Ronwen Williams

The South Africa defence, which was marshalled by Thulani Hlatshwayo alongside his Bidvest Wits teammate Buhle Mkhwanazi, looked shaky and disorganized at times.

Ivory Coast striker Jonathan Kodjia was sent through on goal twice, with the Bafana defence exposed and caught ball watching on both occasions. Ultimately, the marksman's goal was the difference.

Baxter should ensure that there is better organization and communication in the backline, and team captain Hlatshwayo will have to step up and lead by example at the heart of the defence.

The 1996 Afcon champions should also reduce aimless back passes to the goalkeeper, which may lead to defensive errors and own goals.

Bafana shot-stopper Ronwen Williams, who got the nod ahead of Darren Keet against Ivory Coast, was put under unnecessary pressure by his teammates with back passes and, against a high-pressing team, they will be punished.

 

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