Bafana Bafana lost against Ivory Coast in their first game in the AFCON 2019. Now Stuart Baxter and his team need a win on Friday night against our neighbours Namibia to have any chance of progressing to the next round. The Brit and his coaching staff need to make changes to their team that underperformed last Friday. Here are m top five changes Stuart Baxter needs to make for Bafana Bafana’s game against Namibia tonight:
Against the Ivory Coast, Bafana Bafana played a bit timid. A bit scared maybe. Or maybe they were playing to the instructions of the coach. Whatever it was, South Africa didn’t play as well as they could have. Even though they didn’t get a favourable result, Nambia were impressive in their 1-0 loss against Morocco. They are not here to make up the numbers, they are here to play. Bafana lost the first game and now are one loss away from an early flight back home. Stuart Baxter and his team need to go for it against Namibia because the Brave Warriors will be ready for them. Baxter should give the players freedom to express themselves and win or lose on their own terms.
We played a 4-2-3-1 formation against Ivory Coast. Two holdings midfielders to support the back four. It made sense. Ivory Coast have a strong midfield with players who play for big teams in Europe. The tactic sort of worked, our midfielders ran hard and their midfield didn’t control the game. In Friday’s game against Namibia, I think it Baxter should play a 4-3-3 formation. We need to win the midfield battle and play with confidence in the middle something we struggled to do against Ivory Coast. The three midfielders will include a holding midfielder, a box-to-box midfielder, and an attacking midfielder. The three up front will be one centre forward and two quick, interchangeable, goal scoring forwards on the flanks.
Against the Ivory Coast, our midfield did well in closing spaces for their opposite numbers to operate but did nothing in attack. It could have been that our opposition was superior or it could be that the two midfielders Kamogelo Mokotjo and Dean Furman do not compliment each other. They have a very similar playing style. They are holding midfielders who can pass when they need to but they do not control the game. A change needs to made in this department. I haven’t seen Bongani Zungu play in a long time but I know him as a player who is composed and is able to boss a game. It would be wise for Stuart Baxter to find a spot for him in the game against Namibia.
On Friday afternoon, it seemed as though we were more worried about losing the game than winning. Even when we went one goal down, you would think we would just go for it. But, we didn’t. So, we lost. Our fullbacks didn’t push up as much, maybe they were cautious of the pace of Nicolas Pépé and Max-Alain Gradel or maybe they were instructed not to. With the aforementioned 4-3-3 formation it gives us stability in the midfield and options in attack. If I were Stuart Baxter I would start with the same keeper, and back four against Namibia but my three in midfield would be Furman, Zungu, Vilakazi.
5. Attacking players
I cannot blame our four attacking players Maboe, Mothiba, Zwane, and Tau for not performing to the best of their ability on Friday against the Ivory Coast. I feel they were limited by the coach and their midfielders didn’t give them much service. However, Maboe, Zwane, Tau are pretty much the same players with different surnames. None of them made runs off the ball (except Tau on a few occasions), they all wanted the ball to feet, and they all came towards the ball. Bafana Bafana and Stuart Baxter either need to ask those players to play differently against Namibia or replace them with players who can do a better job.
I’ve heard rumblings of the coach not picking Thulani Serero but for his club in SBV Vitesse, Serero plays more as a box-to-box midfielder. He doesn’t play the type of football we used to see him play in the PSL when he was just a baby. He’d have to replace Mokotjo or Furman but he is a bit too lightweight for that position for my liking.
In my 4-3-3, my front trio would be Lebo Motibha as my centre forward, Percy Tau because of his ability and his intelligence to adapt to a role the coach would want him to play and Thembinkosi Lorch. The Orlando Pirates playmaker may be inexperienced at this level but he is quick, smart and has a goal in him. That is how he won the PSL’s 2018/2019 Player of the Season. Themba Zwane would be a close second in the pecking order. A player like Keagan Dolly would have been ideal but unfortunately, he is injured.
What other changes would you like to see Bafana Bafana make for tonight’s game? Please comment down below, and while you at it please share on social media.