5 July 2019 – Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter said playing against Egypt was inspiring for both the players and the technical team adding that the fanatical home support can work for or against the home side.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference at Cairo International Stadium on Friday, 5 July 2019, the Bafana Bafana coach said his team would try to match the Pharaohs in every aspect of the game.
“Playing against the home nation is inspiring and knowing the Egyptian people, knowing their passion for football, knowing their expectations are very high, knowing they have some great players, I believe the pressure is going to be on them. It will obviously be a national disaster if South Africa beat them and for us it will be very disappointing if we lose the game,” said Baxter.
The coach hinted that his tactic might include not allowing the home side to dictate the pace in the opening minutes in a bid to frustrate the boisterous home supporters.
“So we will go into the game quietly believing we can cause an upset but knowing we have to play very, very well because this is a good Egyptian team and they will have massive support and one of the jobs we have to do is to try to quietly quieten the crowd by being a tough opponent than what the people think,” added the Bafana Bafana coach.
Coach Baxter however admitted Bafana Bafana would have to be at their best throughout the game to achieve their objective of causing an upset.
“This will be a great challenge and an inspiring challenge to be meeting Egypt. I think it is our job because the crowd will start with enthusiasm and it is our job to bring maybe some frustration into the mix and if we can do that and the crowd become a little bit impatient, the players will feel that on the field. We know that the home nation can be a good thing and that can also bring big pressure if they feel they are not pleasing that massive crowd.
“So that will be part of our job. We will play with no sense of we must, we will play with a lot of sense of we want. So if we can do that, I think it will be an interesting game,” he told a big media contingent.
“We will definitely give it a good shout on Saturday,” said Baxter adding that tough midfielder, Dean Furman was still being assessed by the medical stuff before any decision on whether he will play or not is determined.
“Dean Furman trained yesterday and he trained quite well. We took him out towards the end of the training as precautionary and we are waiting to see the reaction to that training today. The medical team will tell me the way forward,” he added.
He also agreed that losing Themba Zwane who is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the Group stages was a blow.
“To lose Themba, Themba has been playing very well for us and is very important part of the team that link sometimes in our transition, he does that very well.
“He is very creative in the last third and if you lose a good player like Themba, it is a blow but it also opens doors for other players like Maboe (Lebogang) and Lorch. They all want to put up their hands and get a chance,” he concluded.