Tau among Bafana stars who need to step up

Bafana Bafana’s Percy Tau and coach Hugo Broos. | BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana’s Percy Tau and coach Hugo Broos. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 11, 2024




Despite Bafana Bafana’s commendable performance against highly rated Nigeria, coach Hugo Broos needs the team to fire on all cylinders to keep their 2026 World Cup qualification hopes alive.

On paper, Nigeria’s Super Eagles are far and away the best team in Africa’s Group C. Almost all their national team players ply their trade in Europe’s leading leagues.

South Africa’s Bafana Bafana must punch above their weight to secure qualification because Nigeria is the world’s 30th-best team on the latest Fifa rankings.

Of the other teams in the qualifying group, South Africa are ranked 59th in the world, Benin 95th, Zimbabwe 128th, Rwanda 134th and Lesotho 145th.

Since the start of the qualifiers, the rankings have counted for little because of a raft of upset results. Rwanda defeated South Africa and Group C’s lowest-ranked country, Lesotho, triumphed 2-0 against Zimbabwe.

Spare a thought for Nigeria who are still searching for that elusive first win after three matches. They drew against Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

For Bafana Bafana to fire on all cylinders tomorrow, Broos will need impactful performances from three key players who were underwhelming against Nigeria.

Percy Tau of South Africa. | BackpagePix

Percy Tau

Bafana Bafana fans have called out Tau for below-par performances. He has struggled to replicate the impact he makes for his club Al Ahly while on duty for the national team.

Recently, he was substituted by his club and on Friday he was also withdrawn from the action in the second half against Nigeria. On reflection, there was nothing sinister about pulling Tau off because he did not impress and squandered a scoring chance by kicking the ball high over the crossbar in the second half.

So much rests on the shoulders of the Al Ahly star, who was highly annoyed when he was substituted. That is a good sign because he wants to contribute to the team.

It might be an option to start Tau on the bench, but Broos has so much faith in him that is an unlikely scenario.

Against a team like Zimbabwe, Tau may finally find his best form.

Mothobi Mvala of South Africa. | BackpagePix

Mothobi Mvala

The 29-year-old has always campaigned bravely for Bafana Bafana but against Nigeria, he failed to keep the team’s defence intact. He had a lapse in concentration 60 seconds into the second half when the German-Born Fisayo Dele-Bashiru equalised after working his way around Mvala.

Mvala is usually strong in central defence, but on Friday his lapse proved costly. He could stage a formidable comeback to headline his role in a Bafana Bafana triumph in Bloem.

Elias Mokwana of Sekhukhune United. | BackpagePix

Elias Mokwana

The 24-year-old was impressive for South Africa against Algeria during the March international break, but less so against Nigeria.

There were scoring moments with his handful of chances, but Mokwana’s finishing failed him on the night Bafana needed it most. The energetic winger showed bright signs, but his composure in the final third let him down on several occasions as he wasted a few opportunities on goal. He could strike it rich on Tuesday.

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