Stuart Baxter struggling to calm down fired up Lebo Mothiba ahead of Nigeria showdown
Their recent nemesis‚ Tokelo Rantie‚ might be missing from the current Bafana Bafana squad‚ but Nigeria will be introduced to the Lebo Mothiba and Percy Tau strike partnership in Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.
Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has said that if the Super Eagles do not know the Mothiba-Tau partnership yet‚ they will have a far better idea come 5pm at FNB Stadium (kickoff 3pm) on Saturday.
Rantie‚ not called up for this squad as he has yet to earn game time at new club Cape Town City‚ has been Nigeria’s tormentor recently.
He scored two goals as Bafana were 2-0 up in Uyo in November 2014‚ where Nigeria fought back to 2-2 but still never recovered from that result as SA qualified for Equatorial Guinea 2015 at their expense.
That result had put a doubt in the minds of a Super Eagles used to an almost complete domination against South Africa.
In Uyo again in June 2017 Bafana won 2-0 for their first competitive victory against Nigeria at the start of the current Cameroon 2019 qualifiers‚ and Rantie scored the 54th-minute opener.
The Nigerians had a glimpse of Tau‚ who came off the bench and scored the 81st-minute second.
They have not faced the exciting new partnership of now Belgian-based Tau and Mothiba‚ the big 22-year-old Strasbourg centre-forward who has seven goals in 13 games in Ligue 1 this season‚ and three strikes in his first four caps for Bafana.
Baxter was asked about the new partnership‚ which is still unknown to Nigeria.
“No‚ but it will be [known] after the 90 minutes of the weekend‚ I guarantee you‚” the coach said.
“Because he [Mothiba] is so fired up he nearly broke ‘Ace’ [defender Motjeka Madisha] in two.
“When they played the ball up to his chest‚ Ace tried to wrestle him and he just almost broke him in two and left him in a pile on the ground and ran off with the ball.
“So I’m sure that for Lebo it’s going to be me trying to calm him down before we go out and not letting him rip the door down and charge out like a raging bull.”
Tau has six goals in 15 games for Bafana.
A win to Nigeria or South Africa will clinch qualification for either team for Cameroon 2019.