Afcon: South Africa’s tactics worked against Nigeria but not Ivory Coast – Andrew Rabutla

South Africa senior men's national team head coach Stuart Baxter portrayed a defiant figure despite his side opening their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign with a defeat on Monday.

Former Bafana Bafana defender Andrew Rabutla remains confident the 1996 African champions will bounce back from their loss to Cote d’Ivoire in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament.

“Look, if you can check in the history of Bafana against Ivory Coast you will find out that we never struggle against them,” Rabutla told Goal.

“We expected a win against them or at least a draw to remain confident going to the next match. I don’t know what happened with us because we looked nervous from the first whistle,” he reacted.

“They looked threatening in the first half and we managed to contain them but we failed to close the boy [Jonathan Kodjia] that scored. I think our back four was disorganised,” said the legend.

“All in all, a draw would have been a fair result for us but let’s hope the guys will be back against Namibia and improve their display. The loss means we are under pressure now because this is a big tournament and opening with a loss is not a good start,” he noted.

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Speaking about the second game against the Brave Warriors (Namibia), who opened their competition with a defeat to the Atlas Lions of Morocco, the former centre-back said Bafana must play their hearts out.

“They must show hunger that they want a win against Namibia. We can win that one and ensure we also beat Morocco. These are the teams we beat in 1998, I remember David Nyathi scoring and Benni (McCarthy) also scoring,” continued Rabutla.

“We just have to improve our confidence and forget about respecting our opponents. I think the boys must look at the 1998 tournament and find inspiration, we played the same teams and they can make it,” he backed.

Moreover, the former Jomo Cosmos defender said there was nothing wrong with the coach’s tactics or selections because that approach brought a good result against Nigeria in the qualifiers.

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“I think if you can look at his style of coaching, Stuart [Baxter] has tried that line-up before and I think he believed it would work for him,” said the former Bafana defender.

“It was good, but the boys didn’t perform on the day. He used that line-up and tactics to unsettle Nigeria and it worked,” he reflected.

“I think the back four must just improve and communicate better because all is not lost, they can still beat Namibia and Morocco and reach the next stage,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Bafana will look to register their first win against Namibia who lost 1-0 to Morocco on Friday night.

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