In about the closest he has come to war talk in the build-up to Saturday’s key Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at FNB Stadium‚ Stuart Baxter has reminded Nigeria that wanting revenge and getting it are two different things.
Baxter has been cautious – perhaps a little too much so – in his approach on his prognostics for how the game might materialise against the team his side beat in the Bafana coach’s first match in charge at the start of these qualifiers‚ 2-0 in Uyo in June 2017.
Saturday will be the evidence of whether Bafana have finally managed to throw their Super Eagles hoodoo to some extent with that first competitive victory‚ or only succeeded in stirring up a hornet’s nest.
“Revenge and karma is bit of a bit at times‚ isn’t it?” Baxter responded when asked about how out that Nigeria’s coach‚ Gernot Rohr; players‚ supporters and media have had one thing on their mind for this game that can see wither side qualify for Cameroon 2019 with a win.
“Listen – we waited a long time‚ didn’t we‚ getting hammered by them? And then we went to Uyo and we beat them.
“I don’t think Uyo‚ and I don’t think that the times that we have lost to them‚ will play any part in this game.
“Wanting revenge is one thing. Getting it is another.
“There are 90 minutes-plus to be played. There is an opponent on the other side of the field from them.
“And we are not going to lie down and die. This game is going to go right down to the wire.
“And I can just guarantee – I can’t guarantee a win – but I can guarantee that if they are going to beat us they are going to have to work really‚ really hard.”
Nigeria have nine points in Group E‚ South Africa eight‚ Libya four and Seychelles one‚ with a match to go following this weekend’s round.
Bafana meet Libya away – probably in Tunisia‚ due to the continued unstable situation in Libya – in their final fixture in March.