By Chima Ebube.
The European Season have concluded, teams and players are taking much deserved holiday while football fans are sad about this development mainly because there would be no Footballing activity to keep fans occupied during this period. It is at times like this one has to laud CAF for making drastic changes to the African Cup of Nations.
This year’s edition of AFCON would be held in the summer instead of the usual January/ February tourney dates also seeing an increase to the number of teams participating from the traditional 16 teams to 24 country tournament. While we are excited and can’t wait for the tournament to kick off proper in Egypt, Naijafootballplus.com gives you live interviews with coaches as the tournament approaches.
This week, we had South Africa’s gaffer Stuart William Baxter, in an exclusive Interview, who had a lot to say of his team’s chances in Egypt.
South Africa were drawn in a difficult group alongside Morocco, Ivory Coast and Namibia, Coach Stuart is optimistic on his team’s chances at AFCON 2019
“This squad is developing and the challenge of a strong group and a tough tournament is perfect for them. If we can get through our group then we can be a dangerous opponent.”
South Africa have never defeated Nigeria in a competitive game prior to the appointment of Stuart William as South Africa head coach. Under his tutelage, South Africa broke that daunting record, beating the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their own back yard although Stuart qualified South Africa for AFCON but beating Nigeria in their home is the highlight of his tenure to South Africans, Coach Stuart spoke concerning the probability of facing Nigeria again in Egypt
“Nigeria are a top class football nation and team. I have no preference on who we play. We will concentrate on our own game.”
For a man who is vast in Africa football and a veteran in coaching talks about the unique quality his current squad possesses
“This is a developing squad with a lot of work to be done but are improving. Their tactical understanding is better and their game management has improved and because of that individuals have a chance to self-expression more.”
Afcon 2019 is scheduled to kick off on the 21st of June 2019 albeit Bafana Bafana would have to wait till Monday 24th of June before they square off with Ivory Coast for their opening game in group D, in a group which have been termed group of death. For South Africans, there have never been a better time for the team to win an AFCON title for the first time since 1998 while for Coach Stuart, it is about taking the games one at a time.