Playing Jali Behind The Striker Was A Master Stroke By Baxter - Reader’s Voice
Bafana Bafana kept up their hopes of reaching the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with a 3-1 thumping of Burkina Faso.
The win means that the 2010 World Cup hosts have to win both games against Senegal next month to secure qualification.
Going into the encounter low in confidence after back-to-back defeats to Cape Verde, Bafana coach Stuart Baxter named what looked like a conservative five-man midfield that had no wingers.
Baxter gave us an even bigger surprise by giving Andile Jali the number 10 position.
Despite doubts of his pace and zero track record of playing the position with any success, it proved the master stroke. “Mhlekazi” was a constant menace, hurrying and pressing the Burkinabe defence, and therefore stopping them from initiating any slow build-ups from the back.
His participation in the match looked to be in danger as he went down in the 29th minute with an injury scare, but the burly midfielder stayed on the pitch, and 5 minutes later he laid a through ball which Themba Zwane dispatched.
AJ continued to front up against the Burkina Faso defence and was a constant threat to the opposition until he went off in the 70th minute. The end justified the means, and it was telling as the West Africans only started to play their normal game in the absence of the Bafana player.
This can be a good strategy to use for Bafana going forward many teams attempt to attack from the back.
*This article was written by a Soccer Laduma reader and reflects their opinion, not that of Soccer Laduma.