Bafana Bafana’s World Cup dream may be over, but coach Stuart Baxter warns that tonight’s clash with Senegal in Dakar (at 9pm) is no dead rubber.
Senegal beat South Africa to Russia with a 2-0 win in Polokwane last Friday, rendering this final World Cup qualifier academic.
But Baxter hints that he will make sure that his players have something to play for, with new faces getting a chance.
He explains: “I still believe we are not far off the top sides on the continent despite having a frustrating evening during the Senegal game. Going forward, certain older players will have to be phased out but I won’t make wholesale changes.
“When one plays for the country, there is nothing like fulfilling the match.
“There is nothing like dead rubber matches. We are going into [tonight’s] game intent on winning it and that is what we will go for.”
Meanwhile, Bafana’s tormentor-in-chief Sadio Mane has been ruled out of the clash with a recurrence of his recent hamstring injury and has returned to his Premier League club Liverpool for treatment.
Mane set up Diafra Sakho’s opener before his blocked shot was bundled in for an own goal by Thami Mkhize.