By Sifiso Ramara
JOHANNESBURG, After the disappointment of failing to qualify for this year's FIFA World Cup in Russia, Bafana Bafana have an opportunity to redeem themselves as they embark on their next mission is to qualify for 2019 Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Cameroon.
Coach Stuart Baxter has announced a strong team to face Libya in their second Afcon Group E qualifier in Durban on Sept 8. Bafana Bafana's quest to qualify for the 2019 Afcon tournament started on a high, when they managed to beat African powerhouse Nigeria in their opening Group E fixture June 2017.
The 2-0 win in Uyo, Nigeria, remains one of Bafana Bafana's biggest achievements but Coach Stuart Baxter is a worried man, considering South Africa's poor record against the so-called smaller footballing nations.
Bafana Bafana's back to back losses to Cape Verde in September last year resulted in them finishing bottom of Group D of the World Cup qualifiers with just four points.
Libya, who are currently top of Group E, cannot be taken lightly after beating Seychelles 5-1 last June.
Baxter says: I would guess in all humility that it's not been the strength of South Africa to take on some of these countries that on paper are not the greatest on the planet. Names mean nothing anymore, performance means something.
Following 11 months of inactivity, Baxter was forced to make some changes to the team who beat Nigeria.
There are five overseas-based players in the 22-man squad.
We've had to change our thinking about respecting the players; I think we have to show a little bit of respect to some of the more experienced players.
The 24 year-old Percy Tau, who recently joined English side Brighton, but was immediately loaned to a second division side in Belgium, will lead the strikers department.
Stuart Baxter says:The strategy with Percy is to hope that he gets his international caps, I don't think they are too concerned about where he plays to gain European experience.
Other exciting youngsters in the squad are French-based strikers Lebo Mothiba and Keagan Dolly, as well SuperSport United's midfilder Teboho Mokoena.
The team assembles in Johannesburg on Sunday, and leaves for Durban the following day.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK