Ahead of the opening Group B 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match against Super Eagles this weekend in Uyo, Bafana Bafana of South Africa Head Coach Stuart Baxter is not taking anything for granted by seeking the opinion of other coaches on how best to beat Nigeria.
The new man at the helms who prides himself as the only person to have led a Bafana Bafana squad that defeated the Super Eagles in a friendly match 14 years ago, is still battling on the possible composition of his starting line-up and who should captain his team. South African sources revealed at the weekend that the coach made a desperate call to another coach, Gavin Hunt of Bidvest Wits last Friday asking for tips on his team selection and how to go about the challenging task of facing the Super Eagles on Saturday in Uyo.
According to a South African media organisation, Sunday Times, Baxter is aware of possible comparison with his predecessor Ephraim Mashaba. He therefore decided to engage in intelligence gathering on Nigeria and seeking advice from colleagues. He reportedly engaged a Manchester United scout to help monitor Super Eagles’ training and two matches in France. The South Africans who began camping on Saturday are expected to depart for Nigeria on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana has engaged an interim goalkeeper trainer for the match against Nigeria. He is Alex Heredia who is reportedly well respected by South Africans. Sports Village Square reported that Communication Manager of South Africa Football Association (SAFA) Dominic Chihavi confirmed that Heredia’s appointment was only for the match against the Nigerians and Baxter will finalise his technical team thereafter. Heredia is a highly respected coach who has worked at Orlando Pirates’ Mamelodi Sundowns’ Platinum Stars’ SuperSport United’ Bafana Bafana and he is also a CAF’ SAFA and FIFA instructor for goalkeepers. According to the Daily Times of South Africa, Heredia has won league titles with Pirates and Sundowns and was part of Bafana Bafana’s technical teams for the Cup of Nations tournaments in Mali in 2002 and South Africa in 2013.