South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has handed over the Bafana Bafana captain armband to hard tackling defender, Thulani Hlatshwayo ahead of the 2019 AFCON qualifier against Nigeria in Uyo this weekend, Naijafootballplus.com can report.
Addressing a media briefing on Monday afternoon after the team training session, Baxter said the Wits University captain was a natural leader and had all the qualities he needed in a captain.
“He has all the qualities of a leader,” said Baxter. “He has played at the highest level and has gained great experience playing both for his club in the Premier Soccer League and has gained a lot of experience playing on the continent and he truly fits the bill.
“He is one player who leads by example and I have always liked the captain to normally be centre backs because they can drive the whole team. But in all honesty, he is a massive player and leader and is a captain material,” added Baxter.
Meanwhile, Baxter said despite some players carrying an assortment of niggling injuries, the team would go to Nigeria to perform and not add up the numbers.
Among the players battling with injuries are Lebogang Manyama (knee injury), Andile Jali (groin), Tokelo Rantie (swollen toe), Tiyani Mabunda, Aubrey Ngoma (groin), Rivaldo Coetzee (hamstring) and Eric Mathoho who had a concussion.
“We need a positive result in Nigeria and we have capabilities to hurt them. When we get there, we should be ready. There is no perfect world but I have positive belief.
“I would have loved to have a full fit squad ahead of travelling to Nigeria but you don’t get a perfect situation in football. But there are no excuses and we are raring to go”, said Baxter.
Information from Safa.net was used in this report.