No team would be interested in playing against the host nation at any major tournament, because the chances of advancing are usually limited.
South Africa find themselves in that situation against Egypt at the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations, the two sides meet at the round of 16.
Egypt topped their group with nine points, scoring five and conceding none, their opponents were third in Group D and qualified only as one of the four third best-placed teams.
That thought won’t make South Africa minnows according to coach Stuart Baxter who insists, they have what it takes to cause problems for the host nation.
“I believe we can give them problems because they are also overwhelmed by the ground and the fans,” Baxter said on Wednesday morning before adding.
“We have this opportunity to play against the host nation, in front of a lot of people in a very hostile environment, and that’s when you want people to stand up and I think the group is looking forward to it.”
To get the result they need, Baxter wants to see the 1996 winners change a few things in their game approach because at this stage you can’t afford any slip-ups.
“I don’t think we have to change anything, we just need to strengthen somethings, our attacking play has not been at its best, our defensive play has been for the most part very good.”
“But we have to add on that especially in the attacking front, in the game against Egypt, I am guessing they are going to come to us and open up spaces.”
“They (South African players) know they can a little bit better, they have to up their game by 10% offensively, know they can be a little more efficient in the final third and they are looking forward to that challenge,” Baxter added.
South Africa are searching for their second AFCON title, and Baxter says, the players don’t need to win this game, they want to win it and advance.
“The word need is not in our language, we want to go through and we have strong reasons to want to do it, and that is going to be the motivation because they want very badly to go past this hurdle.”
The winner of the tie will play against the winner of the other round of 16 games between Cameroon and Nigeria in Alexandria at the quarterfinal slated for July 10th at Cairo International Stadium.