MADE IN CHINA: Bafana Bafana striker Dino Ndlovu is in form. Photo: SAMUEL SHIVAMBU/ BACKPAGEPIX

Bafana Bafana boss Stuart Baxter is in the business of importing goals ahead of this week’s crucial Afcon 2019 qualifiers.

With just two goals from their previous two matches, you can be forgiven for fearing the worst when it comes to Bafana.

After an impressive campaign-opening 2-0 away against powerhouses Nigeria, they followed that up with a goalless draw with Libya at home.

And if things go the same against the Seychelles at Soccer City on Saturday (3pm), heads will definitely roll.

But there is a difference in the forwards this time around.

Last time out, Baxter had SuperSport United hitman Bradley Grobler and Wits striker Mxolisi Macuphu as his options.

VERSATILE: Bafana forward Lebogang Phiri. Photo: SYDNEY MAHLANGU/BACKPAGEPIX

And while the coach got his team selection wrong on the day - with Percy Tau leading the line as Bafana tried to play carpet football on a heavy Moses Mabhida pitch - there are fewer local-based options.

In fact, among Lebogang Phiri, Dino Ndlovu, Percy Tau, Lebo Mothiba and Phakamani Mahlambi, Mahlambi is the only PSL-based player in the forwards department.

It’s an intriguing thought.

And you wonder if Baxter is also convinced that our local league is not developing goalscorers.

Baxter’s only solution, then, is to import them.


So just like how we export gold and diamonds to buy back engagement rings from London-based De Beers, hopefully, our strikers are more refined now.

Baxter will be boosted by the form of Dino Ndlovu and Lebo Mothiba, who have been finding the net regularly overseas.

Mothiba has found his range in France, scoring four goals in Ligue 1 this season, which is a great return from just six appearances.

The 22-year-old is a mobile target man who can bring in the likes of support strikers like Percy Tau and Lebo Maboe and the wider players with his strength and link-up play.

Mothiba was withdrawn from the squad that played Libya late on, which pissed off coach Baxter.

That’s probably what drew Baxter to Dino Ndlovu, who has scored 18 goals in the Chinese second division.


Unlike Mothiba, Ndlovu is yet to get off the mark for Bafana.

Tau will be key in this match with his skills and clever play expected to unlock the Pirates’ defence.

How Baxter sets up his team will ultimately shape the pattern of the game.

With the Seychelles being a weak side, the boss only needs to deploy one holding midfielder to shield the defence.

The aim is to score as many goals as possible in these matches, and setting up the team to create the chances for our foreign frontmen is the only real worry for Baxter.

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