Bafana Bafana

Baxter hoping to keep Bafana record against Botswana

ALL IN THE MIND:  Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has called a sports psychologist to work on the players’ collective mind-set. (Lefty Shivambu, Gallo Images)
ALL IN THE MIND: Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has called a sports psychologist to work on the players’ collective mind-set. (Lefty Shivambu, Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter is hoping his charges will perform a little bit better than they did when they defeated Namibia 4-1 to set up a date with Botswana in the COSAFA Cup Plate final.

In 13 meetings, Botswana are yet to register a victory over Bafana Bafana in regulation time, with one match going to the neighbours after a penalty shootout in the COSAFA Cup in 2006.

Botswana has played four games in the tournament, starting in the first-round group stages - they have beaten Angola, Malawi and Mauritius, but went down to Zimbabwe on penalties in the quarter-finals.

South Africa joined the competition in the last eight where they lost in a penalty shootout to the Islanders and went on to beat Namibia in the Plate semi-final.

Baxter is aware of the danger that Botswana poses, but is hoping his side has found its footing.

"Botswana played well against Zimbabwe, they played very well to go through and have also battled because they have had plenty of games – but then again those lots of games help you gel a little bit, you find a rhythm, which hopefully we have found now," said the Bafana Bafana mentor as quoted by the SAFA website.

"You get the lads together and you play a game, you try to play a friendly game in between, it’s not the same, you go into your first game hoping they will find each other, it’s a big ask.

"The second game was better, hopefully the third game will be a little bit better."

Bafana Bafana will be without the suspended Fortune Makaringe – who received two cautions in the last two matches.

"We will definitely make that change (Makaringe) and will later maybe give the younger ones a bit more of a run," said Baxter.

"Since it’s the end of the season, there may be fatigue but the inspiration and motivation of wanting to play will take over.

"I am happy there was a good mood in the dressing room, in fact more like satisfaction because they gave a better performance and the result was better,” added Baxter.

Also, not in the squad is Gift Motupa who has been released from the tournament due to a family bereavement.

The last time the two nations met, was about a year ago in the CHAN tournament with South Africa winning the two-legged qualifier.

The clash will take place on Friday, June 8 at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

Kick-off is at 17:00.

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