“It has really been a tough task to select the team to face Nigeria without some of our regular players, but we have to soldier on. These injuries could not have come at the worst of times when we really need to collect all three points because we are well aware the importance of doing this,” said Baxter.

“The positive side, however, is that this gives us a chance to introduce other players into the squad, and these are players we have been monitoring, so it not like a knee-jerk reaction. This helps us to ensure that when we qualify for the tournament we have an even bigger pool of players to choose from. I am also confident that the players brought in will do a good job.”

Nigeria lead Group E with nine points, just one ahead of South Africa with two matches remaining.

Bafana will conclude their qualifying campaign with a trip to Libya in March.

“I must admit this makes the upcoming clash all the more interesting. Remember we beat them 2-0 in the first leg in their backyard, so they will come here trying to avenge that. On the other hand we want to regain the top spot which we relinquished with the draw away to Seychelles. The good thing is that qualification is still in our hands,” added Baxter.

The 2019 AFCON will take place from June 7 to 30 in Cameroon. The Indomitable Lions are the defending champions.

BAFANA SQUAD:

Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits).

Defenders: Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Kaizer Chiefs), Motjeka Madisha (Sundowns), Siyanda Xulu (Maritzburg), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Wits), Innocent Maela (Pirates), S’fiso Hlanti(Wits), Buhle Mkhwanazi (Wits) Thamsanqa Mkhize (CT City).

Midfielders: Vincent Pule (Pirates), Lebohang Maboe (Sundowns), Hlompho Kekana (Sundowns), Fortune Makaringe (Maritzburg), Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport), Tiyani Mabunda (Sundowns), Thulani Serero (Vitesse), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates).

Strikers: Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg), Percy Tau (Royal Union), Dino Ndlovu (Zhejiang), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns).