A late Percy Tau strike salvaged a draw for Bafana Bafana against Paraguay in the Nelson Mandela Challenge. SoccerClub writer DEAN WORKMAN has picked out five things we learned from the encounter.
1) Bafana becoming reliant on Tau
The former Mamelodi Sundowns forward stepped up to score a dramatic late equaliser on Tuesday night, following up on his Man of the Match display against Nigeria on the weekend.
With two big performances over the last two games, Bafana’s reliance on Tau is starting to become clearer by the game.
His influence was of course highlighted by the number of star players absent in the squad through injury, but Tau’s continuous improvement and impact on the Bafana side will certainly have Stuart Baxter dreaming about the impact which the striker could have on his team moving forward,
2) Serero/Tau showed signs of potential partnership
The two European based players linked up expertly for Bafana’s equaliser on Tuesday with Thulani Serero playing in a perfectly weighted pass which Tau latched onto before firing past the Paraguay keeper.
Tau and Serero showed signs of what could be a fruitful partnership for South Africa and with the Vietness midfielder back in the squad, Baxter will be hoping that two of his star players will continue to build an understanding ahead of the crunch Afcon qualifier against Libya next year.
3) Bafana need injured stars back
A number of high profile players missed out on the latest Bafana squad through injury and although Baxter’s team picked up two draws against what would be considered ‘stronger’ opposition, they clearly missed the x-factor some of their stars carry.
Dean Furman, Bongani Zungu and Kamahelo Mokotjo have all become vital components of the midfield but are injured, while Keagan Dolly and Bradley Grobler’s injuries were also felt.
There is also a list of players, including the likes of Lebogang Manyama, Tekelo Rantie and Andile Jali, who have missed out on recent squads due to their lack of match fitness.
If Baxter can get all these players back firing in his squad, his future as Bafana boss may begin to look a lot brighter.
4) Lack of preparation hindered Bafana
With Bafana having played Nigeria at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon, it was a quick turnaround to Tuesday night’s clash in Durban.
With only two days in between the games, Baxter was afforded precious little time to prepare his team in a normal fashion.
This was evident on the park and even Tau admitted to the media after the game that South Africa knew next to nothing about their performance.
He performance of Baxter’s men just further highlights the importance of preparation and analysing your opponent in the modern game.
5) Paraguay a worthy acid test
Prior to the match many people perceived Paraguay as weak opposition when compared to previous side’s who Bafana have played in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
France, England and Brazil have all been invited in the past but this time round the South Americans were selected for the friendly game.
The Paraguayans, however, may have shocked a few with their quality as the physicality and pace proved a difficult test to handle for Bafana.
Photo: EPA/SAMUEL SHIVAMBU
You may also like