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Baxter Defends Ngcobo

Stuart Baxter has defended Njabulo Ngcobo over his performance for Bafana Bafana and gave some insight where he sees his playing position.

Ngcobo featured for Bafana in midfield in their 1-0 win over Ethiopia, replacing the injured Mothobi Mvala.

Hugo Broos said after the game that his side struggled in midfield, but Baxter refuted claims that Ngcobo had a bad game.

“I don’t have a crystal ball so I don’t know if we will have injuries or so,” he told reporters when asked where he’ll play the 27-year-old after his performance for Bafana.

“I don’t think he did a bad job for Bafana, absolutely not. Certainly there were players that were players worse than him, absolutely,” Baxter told reporters.

The Englishman then discussed Ngcobo’s position for Amakhosi, saying he still wants to see him more often in midfield before deciding whether he should rather play as centre-back.

“And I do think, you can look at either as a skilful centre-back or a defensively strong central midfield player. 

“He is versatile to play in both of those positions. Of course he’s not playing in the midfield as much but you can deploy him there.

“As third centre-back, you can push him on in possession and drop him in in-between more or less when you’re defending.

“So his versatility gives as options and it’s certainly nothing that I want to throw away without having a proper look at it, because he’s got to find his distances, he’s got to find his balances, he’s got to find his intentions and be comfortable in that role before you either bin it and say no, now we’re going to use him as centre-back or can he both and can he strengthen the squad in that way.” 

Chiefs take on Chippa United on Saturday and it remains to be seen whether Ngcobo will once again make Baxter’s starting XI.

Story by David Kappel (@kappilinho).



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