Super Eagles gaffer, Gernot Rohr says he envisaged a tough game away to South Africa, but is fine with a draw against the Bafana Bafana.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria shared the spoils with host, South Africa in a Group E Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier on Saturday at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
“South Africa is a very good team. We knew it will be a difficult game it was very hot we arrived yesterday morning without sleeping in the night and second half was very difficult,” Rohr says after the game.
“I think we started the match well. We struck the first goal and our tactics was okay they had to come against our defensive block and it was difficult for South Africa.
“We tried to score the second goal because we play to win all the time. Today we didn’t win, we did not want to take any risk because we knew a draw is just like a victory,” the German concludes.
Baxter proud still
Meanwhile, Rohr’s opposite number, Stuart Baxter is understandably slightly deflated – yet proud of his team.
“I’m disappointed a little bit and I’m proud a little bit. We’ve taken four points off the Super Eagles and the only goal we’ve conceded so far in the tournament is an own goal,” Baxter tells SuperSport TV.
“I’m disappointed that we weren’t braver, we said at half-time, we give them problems when we get through and get our movements, we run people away and challenge them one v one,” adds the coach.
Reflecting on their second half performance, the former Kaizer Chiefs coach says they resorted to long balls and that was not a good plan to unsettle the Super Eagles.
“And in the second half we started to go long. We started to go really long and that’s a sign of nerves that we don’t want to concede,” continues the tactician.
“I want a good run and delivery but not just hook it over the defence. Even the problems we gave them in the second half were the same, combinations. I’m little bit disappointed but the fight goes on,” notes the 65 year old.
Furthermore, Baxter also shared his thoughts on midfielder Thulani Serero’s display following his return after a long absence from the national team fold.
“It was a big one for Thulani to come in because we didn’t have him in the game the way we wanted. So I changed him and put Percy (Tau) as a 10. We pulled (Thembinkosi) Lorch as a winger. It didn’t come out the way I wanted. I wanted play in between so the runs could come,” he concludes.
In the wake of the draw, Rohr’s men have now sealed their passage to the continental tournament in Cameroon, but the Southern Africans will have to grind to book their spot.
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