Afcon 2019: South Africa will raise their game for Egypt – Baxter

South Africa coach, Stuart Baxter says his side will rise to the challenge of facing hosts Egypt in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations last-16 clash in Cairo on Saturday.

Baxter believes the players will want to prove a point to themselves, as well as the fans, that they can perform better than they have in the tournament so far.

Bafana beat Namibia 1-0 in Pool D, but also lost by the same scoreline to Ivory Coast and Morocco.

Baxter believes they are not that far off from turning those defeats into a positive score against the Egyptians after qualifying as the fourth of the four best third-place finishers.

“It is a great challenge and one that the whole squad are looking forward. The groups have been tight for the most part, ours was seconds away from almost every game being a different result,” Baxter said.

“The people that think, ‘you have got through the back door’, well, we were seconds away in games from getting through on our own power. People would have then said it was a great performance.

“We have got this opportunity to play the host nation in a hostile environment and that is the time you want people to stand up.”

He says the players will not need any motivating to put in maximum effort against the Egyptians.

“They want to go and they have strong reasons to want to do it. They want very badly to get past this hurdle. I don’t think I have to change anything, we need to strengthen some things.

“Our attacking play has not been at its best, but I think on the whole our defensive play has been very good. We need to add onto that a functioning attacking game.

“Against Egypt, I am guessing they will come at us, so there should be more space on offer. If we can up our attacking game 10-15 percent, we will be able to give them problems.

“I don’t think mentally we have to lift them. They know each game was very close and we were there or thereabouts in both games we lost. They know they can do a little bit better and be more efficient.”





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