Bully Nigeria! … Bafana coach urges team

Tovey - South Africa head coach

Tovey – South Africa head coach

BAFANA Bafana will arguably be considered underdogs going into their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Nigeria. But former captain Neil Tovey believes the locals have a good chance to upstage the Super Eagles.

Nigeria are planning to arrive only a day before the match as they try to negate the effects of altitude but this, Tovey said, could work against them.

“Nigeria will get tired come the last 20 minutes of the game. They can come anytime, as late as they want to try and negate altitude but they will not get it right. I know, I have played the game,” said Tovey.

The two continental rivals will clash at the FNB Stadium on Saturday with the winner guaranteed a ticket to Cameroon in 2019. Nigeria are sitting pretty at the top of the group with nine points followed by Bafana on eight points.

Bafana will be forgiven for going into the match a tad confident. They performed beyond expectations in Nigeria’s playground with a 2-1 victory. But they have since had a mixed bag of results, like the record 6-0 home win against Seychelles and then the unexpected 0-0 draw away to the Islanders.

For Tovey though, this clash on Saturday presents Bafana with an opportunity to stamp their authority against Nigeria.

“Every game is big and this adds to the flavor with Nigeria. We archived a good result away from home and we can’t forget that. We must not forget that. It’s important to know that we have a side and capabilities to beat anybody on the day, including Nigeria.

“Nigeria are – and I don’t want to be derogatory – arrogant by nature, so we need to make them start thinking that there is a little bit of toughness out there. If we do that I think we have a chance,” Tovey said.

For coach Baxter there will be no need to motivate the players given the size of the opposition. At the back of their minds they will probably also want to make some amends following the 0-0 farce in the Seychelles.

“There’s no need for motivation. You are one game away from qualification. We have to take it one step at a time and do the job in the right areas. First you have to defend well because that lays the base to set up a win,” said Tovey.

Meanwhile, Nigeria have been offered a $25,000 bounty for every goal scored against Bafana. Just how many goals they will score, if at all, remains to be seen. – supersport.com

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