Baxter expects Zebras to give SA a 'bruising'game

14 July 2017 - 08:04 By Marc Strydom
Lehlogonolo Masalesa. File photo
Lehlogonolo Masalesa. File photo

Stuart Baxter expects similar treatment from Botswana in tomorrow's African Nations Championship away qualifier to what Bafana Bafana experienced in the Cosafa Cup earlier this month.

South Africa beat Botswana 2-0 in a Cosafa plate semifinal in Moruleng last month in a match that was marked by physical horseplay from the Zebras, and Baxter was red-carded for swearing at the fourth official.

Botswana have since appointed former Santos, Bay United and Thanda Royal Zulu coach Major David Bright, so titled due to his former army rank, as head coach.

Briton Baxter, though, expects Botswana to be physical again in Francistown, 400km north of Gaborone, the capital.

"It was a very physical game. I think they got a lot of stick [at home] not because they lost to us, but because of the way they played.

"People in Botswana don't want them to play that way," Baxter said yesterday.

"From all reports, the coach who has taken over is not different in his approach. So, I'm expecting a bit of a bruising game.

"I'm expecting that we're going to have to protect the ball with our physicality. And we're going to have to shift it quickly; otherwise we're going to get turned over.

"So, yeah, I think it will be a tough game. But we have experience of them, and we know that if we play well we know we can get a result to bring back here.

"If we win 1-0 it's not over, and if we lose 1-0 it's not over. You've got to bring them back here with a result you can play on."

Lehlogonolo Masalesa has been withdrawn due to CAF's eligibility rules.