Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has praised his players for the great unity within the camp.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday, 20 November 2018 Nelson Mandela Challenge match against South American side Paraguay at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Baxter said team unity was a critical factor in the national set ups.
The match between Bafana Bafana v Paraguay will kick off at 19h00 and tickets are available at Computicket, Shoprite and Shoprite Checkers stores countrywide. They are going for R40.
“Team unity is important. The lads (players) want to be here, want to learn and are talking the same language. They get along with each other and that type of unity is priceless.”
The Bafana Bafana mentor said an example was the way they brushed aside talk of huge amounts offered to Nigeria for winning or scoring in Saturday’s encounter concentrating rather in wanting to win the game.
“Money is not their motivational drive, these players want to do the job for the country and other things will follow,” he said.
The Bafana Bafana coach added that it was nice for the Senior National Team to play a South American side as it will provide them with the much-needed experience.
“It is fitting that in the name of Mandela whose passion was to develop the youth that we get valuable international experience and prepare some of our players for the future,” he said adding that the priority for Nigeria game and that of Paraguay was a bit different.
“The main priority for Nigeria was to win the game that was our main aim against Nigeria. With this one (Paraguay game) we are looking more on the development but we will also play to win although it’s should not be win at all costs. In our team selection, we will ask youngsters to play – balance between winning and development.
“ These type of games are important because we experiment, we take the criticism if we don’t win but the main agenda is that we need to broaden the squad and give youngsters experience, which will be invaluable going forward,” said the caoch adding that despite not fielding his ideal starting eleven, the team will still play to win the game.
Bafana Bafana and Paraguay have clashed on three occasions to date.
Their first meeting was in 2002 in Busan, South Korea during the 2002 FIFA World Cup which was co-hosted by Japan and Korea. The match finished 2-2 with Teboho Mokoena and Quinton Fortune finding the net for the Jomo Sono-coached side.
The two sides met again in 2008 in Attridgeville’s Lucas Moripe Stadium where Bafana Bafana beat Paraguay 3-0 with goals from Surprise Moriri, Benni McCarthy and Simphiwe Tshabalala. The team was then coached by Carlos Alberto Parreira.
The two side’s last clash was in 2010 in the Paraguay’s capital of Asuncion. The match ended in a 1-1 draw with again Siphiwe Tshabalala finding the back of the net.