Baxter plays around with his Bafana team

07 July 2017 - 07:46
By Mark Gleeson
Stuart Baxter. File photo
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images Stuart Baxter. File photo

Stuart Baxter is expected to mix and match his players when he decides on his makeshift Bafana Bafana team to face Namibia in today's Cosafa Castle Cup plate final at Moruleng Stadium in North West to decide the tournament's fifth and sixth places.

Baxter tried his strongest selection on Sunday when the defending champions made their entry into this year's edition at the quarterfinal stage against guest team Tanzania. But it was a disappointing showing as South Africa lost 1-0.

On Tuesday the Bafana coach made eight changes to the side, introducing a number of younger players for the plate semifinal against Botswana, whom they later beat 2-0.

"In terms of the physical part of the game, [the younger 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 Cup and that is investing in youngsters and giving them this sort of international experience.''

However, Baxter said the match against Namibia was "another important game" and added that he was likely to bring back some of the players he 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.

Today's match will be followed by the bronze medal clash between Lesotho and Tanzania.

The final will be held at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Sunday between Zambia and Zimbabwe.