Thu, 18 Apr 2019

Cape Town - Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter feels their tough AFCON 2019 Group D draw is a great challenge but a good one for his side.

Baxter is seeking proper preparations following the draw on Friday night in which South Africa were drawn in alongside Morocco, Ivory Coast and neighbours Namibia.

Briefing journalists on Saturday, the Bafana Bafana mentor said it was a good and exciting draw but the bottom line was for the team to prepare well.

The 65-year-old added that his side are aiming to make the country proud and that all the games were winnable. While no team in the group would also feel comfortable meeting Bafana Bafana in the tournament.

The former Kaizer Chiefs head coach confirmed he would now open talks with the clubs to enable him to find the exact date in which to name his squad before preparing for the tournament.

"When I say it is a good group, it is a great challenge for the group of players we have at the moment and their development. It is a group we can really have a go at without any feeling of inhibitions," Baxter said before adding that there are certain groups which look easier on paper, although both Morocco and Ivory Coast would not feel secure meeting South Africa.

"They will also feel we are a dangerous opponent. In the same breath, we should not discount Namibia considering the way they qualified, they will not be an easy target for anybody.

"So in terms of this group, I think it is a difficult one but a good one," Baxter said.

"We need to have these type of negotiations with the clubs because it has been a long hard season and we don't want to abuse the players and burn them out. We want both club and country to benefit from this exercise."

Baxter also confirmed talks are taking place with a few Middle East countries to set up camp somewhere closer to Egypt and to take part in a few friendlies before the tournament.

He, however, said nothing was finalised but that was the rough planning he had so far.

Bafana Bafana get their tournament underway against the Ivory Coast on June 24 in Cairo before playing at the same venue on June 28 against Namibia.

They then round off the group stage with a match against Morocco on July 1.

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