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Stuart Baxter calls for smart, brave Bafana vs. Nigeria

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter believes his side are as prepared as they could be for the African Nations Cup qualifier against Nigeria in Uyo on Saturday, and has urged them to play "smart" football.

Baxter begins his second spell at the helm of Bafana Bafana with a difficult away-day against an in-form Nigeria, and will be desperate to extend South Africa's 17-game unbeaten run.

"The preparations have gone according to expectations," Baxter told reporters on Friday. "While I could have done with more time, I believe the hours we have put in this past week should suffice.

"I can't see anything more I could have done with this group with more time that I have not done. You also don't want to disturb your players with lots of details which might be counter-productive.

"In short I can say, I am excited, ready and of course, a bit nervous."

Baxter says he has taken note of the comments coming out of the Super Eagles camp, and has hinted that he believes his side have got under the skin of the home team.

"I was watching a few of their players on television on Thursday night. They sounded bullish but at the same time are very uncomfortable. I think we have done a good job."

He adds that key to Saturday's result will be how his players react in the face of adversity, and that they should never feel inferior to the Super Eagles.

"How do you react when things don't go your way or as planned? Must we panic or react? If we react positively to any situation, we have a good chance of coming out with a solid result. We need to be brave and adapt but never feel inferior.

"Nigeria need to win this one and they will go at us but this is where we need to be smart. If they all pour forward, throw caution to the wind, we need to defend well and then exploit gaps at the back.

"This is when we need to react smart."

South Africa have never beaten Nigeria away from home, while their only ever success over the West African side came in a friendly match in 2004 during Baxter's first spell in charge.

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