Bafana Bafana were held to a 1-1 draw by Nigeria at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, a result which sees the Super Eagle’s qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, while Bafana will need to avoid defeat against Libya to seal their qualification. SoccerClub writer DEAN WORKMAN has picked out five things we learned from the encounter.
1) Tau is destined for greatness
Percy Tau was named as the Man of the Match after his brilliant assist and all-round great performance and even had the Nigerian coach Gernot Rohr raving about his ability after the game.
Rohr said that he hopes to see Tau gracing the biggest leagues in the world and if he continues with his fine performance with Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium and with Bafana, his parent club Brighton and Hove Albion will be increasingly desperate to secure his arrival at the club.
2) Serero’s underwhelming return
After a year long hiatus from the national team, Serero made his return to the side in Saturday’s draw. The midfielder failed to replicate his form for Dutch club Vitesse, as he looked lost throughout the encounter.
Stuart Baxter admitted after the game that Serero struggled to link up with his teammates as it was the first time he played with many of them.
Serero undoubtedly has the quality to add a great deal to the Bafana set up but would need time to build an understanding with his fellow teammates before his impact can be felt.
3) Bafana’s improved mentality
After conceding an early own-goal in such a big game against opponents such as Nigeria, Bafana Bafana of old almost certain would have wilted under the pressure.
Instead Baxter’s team fought back to find an equaliser and went on to control large parts of the game, as Nigeria looked to sit back and hold for the draw.
They might not have completed the turn-around, but Bafana showed signs of an improved temperament.
This temperament will now face an even bigger test as Bafana need to travel and secure at least a point against Libya, who sit one point behind them, to secure qualification for next year’s Afcon.
4) The young Super Eagles are ready to fly
After defeat to South Africa last year in Uyo, Nigeria performed admirably at the World Cup in Russia and have since gone on to seal qualification to next year’s Afcon.
Nigeria were the youngest side at last year’s global showpiece and produced a really mature performance against Bafana when only a draw was needed.
The Super Eagles now looked primed to continue their development under Rohr and become a force to be reckoned with on the continent.
5) South Africa need to get behind Bafana
The lack of attendance in the stadium shocked the Super Eagles coach, who said that in the West African country a stadium of ‘200 000’ would be packed to capacity for a similar fixture.
South African’s are seemingly scarred by the disappointments of the last few years and have become disillusioned with the national side. Bafana, however, need the support of a nation which is filled with football lovers.
If Bafana are going to become a force in the game, they will need the fans to step up and help them through the journey.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
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