Bafana’s Percy Tau surely won’t have another wasteful outing in Liberia return leg

Bafana Bafana’s Percy Tau missed a few big chances against Liberia. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana’s Percy Tau missed a few big chances against Liberia. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Mar 25, 2023


Cape Town - Burnley's Lyle Foster and the Mamelodi Sundowns duo Thapelo Morena and Teboho Mokoena were the Bafana Bafana players to come away with their reputations intact after lowly Liberia snatched a last-gasp draw in their Afcon clash at the Orlando Stadium on Friday.

Foster the lone striker in the side's 4-2-3-1 playing formation played his part by scoring twice to give South Africa a 2-0 lead, 22 minutes into the first half.

Behind Foster was the celebrated Percy Tau, Themba Zwane and Bongokuhle Hlongwane playing as attacking midfielders. They were at the receiving end of a host of goalscoring opportunities and together they failed to convert any chances.

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The statistics show that Bafana Bafana, with 17 scoring attempts, had twice as many yet in the end they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils despite enjoying a lion's share of possession.

Tau was industrious and helped to crack open the opposition's defence but his parting shots were wayward and contributed handsomely to the eight shots that were off target. Tau has been in excellent form of late, and the only comforting thought is that he is unlikely to have two poor games on the trot.

Zwane did not impose himself on the match like he is capable of, but he often dropped back to set up attacks into the opposition half. It was hard to fathom why coach Hugo Broos withdrew him in the 70th minute in favour of Sphephelo Sithole. The latter became the weak link in the midfield and failed to halt Liberia's late attacking forays.

Hlongwane looked good out wide but failed to make an impact in the striking zone and needed to be more direct rather than look for support when in range.

Mokoena and the Sweden-based Luke le Roux presented a solid front playing in front of the four-man rearguard. They offered excellent resistance when Liberia threatened but towards the end, Le Roux's man-marking went awry, and Liberia capitalised.

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Apart from Morena who performed basic defence duties well, he also offered the side thrust when he sparked attacks from deep options. He did well to shut out Liberia in his channels when they looked to attack.

Alongside Morena, Siyanda Xulu, Mothobi Mvala and Aubrey Modiba contained Liberia up to point but they lost their shape late in the match when they were under pressure. It is unlikely that Xulu, Mvala and Modiba will again prove ineffective in the return clash in Monrovia on Tuesday.

Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams did not have a particularly good game considering he has made a habit to keep clean sheets this season. He made four saves and on one other occasion, the woodwork came to his rescue.

Broos is likely to make one change that will see the ever-improving Cassius Mailula coming into the run-on XI. He came off the bench, 10 minutes ahead of the final whistle and looked impressive without moving into a position to have a crack at the target.