Manyama: "Bafana have been picked on form"

Lebogang Manyama of Cape Town City is challenged by Nhlanhla Vilakazi of Free State Stars during the Absa Premiership 2016/17 game between Cape Town City and Free State Stars at Cape Town Stadium. BackpagePix

Lebogang Manyama has praised the selection of South Africa coach Stuart Baxter for the African Nations Cup qualifier in Uyo on Saturday, saying the squad has been picked on form rather than reputation.

The Cape Town City midfielder is one of those coming off the back of an excellent campaign, which has seen him into contention for the South Africa Player of the Season award.

He could win a 10th cap against the Super Eagles, but even if he doesn't, he maintains that there are enough form players to hurt the home side.

"If you look at the talent that is here, it is amazing. Everybody that is in the squad is on top form and that is good for the team," Manyama said in a press release from the South African Football Association.

"Once we can contribute individually according to our strengths and mix it up with the team effort, it will turn out very well.

Manyama says that Bafana are well aware of the challenge they face, with no South African side ever having tasted victory in Nigeria. However, he believes there is belief among the players that they can get a positive result.

"We know what Nigeria [are] capable of, we know about all the stars they have in their team," Manyama continued, "but at the end of the day it is 11 versus 11 and they are human beings.

"Like us, they are not unbeatable. We have to go there believing in what we can do, we have to believe in our strengths and not worry too much about them.

"If we put up a team effort when we get there, we will most likely come up with a good result in the end."

The match is a first competitive fixture in a busy year for the national side that will also see them compete in World Cup qualifiers, the regional COSAFA Castle Cup, and preliminaries for the African Nations Championship, all under new coach Stuart Baxter.

"Our challenge starts on Saturday with Nigeria, and if we can get through that one we should almost be able to deal with all the challenges that we will face in the national team," Manyama added. "If we do well in the two competitions it will be great for the national team and for the entire country as it will open up many opportunities for the next two years or so.

"With all the hurdles coming our way, it is important that we remain consistent by winning games so that whoever comes to our backyard they know they are in for a tough battle."