Baxter will continue to experiment in Friday's Cosafa Cup plate final

06 July 2017 - 13:10
By Mark Gleeson
Stuart Baxter during the South Africa National team training at Royal Marang Hotel Phokeng on June 29, 2017 in Rustenburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images Stuart Baxter during the South Africa National team training at Royal Marang Hotel Phokeng on June 29, 2017 in Rustenburg, South Africa.

Stuart Baxter will look to mix and match when he decides on his team for Friday’s plate final at the Cosafa Castle Cup as his make-shift Bafana side takes on Namibia at the Moruleng Stadium (kick off 5pm) to decide fifth and sixth place at the tournament.

Baxter tried his strongest selection last Sunday when the defending champions made their entry into this year’s edition at the quarter-final stage against guest team Tanzania.

But it was a disappointing showing as South Africa lost 1-0.

On Tuesday‚ for the plate semifinal‚ Baxter made eight changes and introduced a swath of younger players and saw them go on and beat Botswana 2-0.

“In terms of the physical part of the game‚ they (the young players) pitched up. They didn’t throw in the towel‚ they kept on battling‚” said the coach.

“There were issues with technical skills and decision making.

"There were a lot of poor decisions.

"But I think we have got to stay true to what we set out to do with the Cosafa and that is invest in youngsters and give them this sort of international experience.

"When they play with the national shirt on‚ it’s a good investment.”

But Baxter said the match against Namibia was “another important game” and that he would likely bring back some of those dropped after last Sunday’s loss.

“You tread a fine line. You don’t want to throw the youngsters in at the deep end and you don’t want to either deprive them of a chance.

"We probably will turn towards a little more experience to face Namibia but I still want to have that element of development otherwise we are not true to what we want to do‚” Baxter added.

Friday’s clash is followed by the bronze medal clash at the tournament between Lesotho and Tanzania.

The final of the Cosafa Castle Cup is at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Sunday between Zambia and Zimbabwe (kick off 3pm).

- TimesLIVE