Wednesday Mar 28, 2018. 11:00
South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has called for patience in regards to the predominantly youthful team which won the four-nations tournament in Zambia this past week.
Bafana Bafana ousted Angola and the host nation to claim the trophy, but more encouraging than the results was the introduction of fresh faces such as Siphesihle Ndlovu, Reeve Frosler, Teboho Mokeona and Lebo Mothiba.
Yet Baxter has warned against expecting a group of new, promising players to solve all the national team’s problems.
“I understand when we bring in some of the young ones and get positive results, especially someone like Lebo, who scores two goals, it’s easy to clutch at that and say, ‘This is the golden bullet’,” said Baxter.
“I think we need to have patience with all the youngsters, because we have more of them and more experienced players that will be vying for a place in the team in future.”
Mothiba was especially impressive and the Lille forward has drawn praise from Baxter for his more physical approach to the game.
“I think Lebo in particular is a sort-of non-South African-South African, if I may put it that way – he’s not like Ryan [Moon], who’s quick and a bit slippery,” added the coach.
“But Lebo is in-your-face, he was wrestling them. He’s got a bit to come in terms of his coordination, but when he gets it right he’s a hell of a target. He holds it up really well.
“What he does is, sometimes we go on transition really quick and tend to get ahead of ourselves and it sort of peters out, but when we hit Lebo, he’s like ‘bang!’ – and he holds it.
“As we get closer to him, we get more men in attack, so as a change-up he’s very, very good. He’s got a lot to learn but I think he’s a raw diamond, and if he gets the opportunities he’s going to be an asset for us.”