• 5 talking points as Bafana qualify for Afcon 2019

    Bafana Bafana celebrate after securing qualification for the 2019 African Cup of Nations

    Bafana Bafana sealed their spot at the 2019 African Cup of Nations with a 2-1 win over Libya on Sunday, FourFourTwo SA writer DEAN WORKMAN has picked out five talking points from the intense encounter.

    The South African national team knew prior to kick off that only a draw was needed to secure their spot at the showpiece event set to be held in Egypt later this year.

    Despite naming a defensive starting line-up Bafana managed to secure the three points away in Sfax, Tunisia, largely thanks to the brilliance of star man Percy Tau.

    Here are 5 talking points from the match: 

    Keet filling Khune’s boots

    Much was made about who would be between the sticks for the encounter after Itumeleng Khune’s season ending injury at the start of the year.

    Kaizer Chiefs may have struggled to replace ‘Mzansi’s number one’ but Keet made that transition easy for Bafana as he put in a stunning display, pulling off a number of big saves at big moments to keep Baxter’s chargers in control in Sfax.

    Tau the star man for Bafana

    Percy Tau is fast becoming South Africa’s star man as he was again the difference maker for Baxter in Sfax.

    Not only did Tau open the scoring, and then again fire his side into the lead just three minutes after conceding an equaliser, but he was a menace throughout the encounter as Libya struggled to deal with his skill and guile.

    Should he continue on this upward trajectory, South Africa could just have a player capable of rivalling the best on the continent.

    Furman, Mokotjo partnership vindicated

    There was a lot said about the midfield partnership of Dean Furman and Kamohelo Mokotjo prior to kick off.

    The duo, however, produced a dogged midfield display, covering every blade of grass on the pitch as they looked to break down the Libyans attacks before kick starting Bafana’s counters.

    Handling the pressure and putting in a quality performance in Sfax would have gone a long way in vindicating Baxter’s selection of the duo over the likes of Hlompho Kekana.

    Much needed mental boost for Bafana

    Over the last few years Bafana have suffered some rather damaging defeats which has cost them qualification for major tournaments like the Fifa World Cup and Afcon.

    That recent disappointment would have certainly been playing on the players minds who knew the nation would accept nothing less than getting the job done over Libya.

    That’s exactly what Baxter’s chargers did as they produced a top class away performance to seal their spot at this years Afcon which would have come with a much-needed mental boost.

    Baxter needs continual support

    Stuart Baxter admitted prior to the game that he could walk away from the job should his side not qualify for Afcon.

    With that worry out the way and Baxter clearly still the man for the job, both Safa and South African football fans need to back the British coach to continue with his vision for the National side.

    Baxter has often spoke of building a side with continuity for the future and it seems things are slowly falling into place for the former Kaizer Chiefs coach who now needs the continual support of the entire South African footballing fraternity to continue the growth of the side.

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