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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist


Tlale expects more from Percy Tau against Nigeria

'Even a guy like Tau, I'm not attacking him but we know he can do better,' said Tlale.


1996 Africa Cup of Nations winner John Tlale has highlighted areas where Bafana Bafana can improve ahead of their semifinal showdown against Nigeria on Wednesday.

Hugo Broos’ team has showed grit and strong character to reach the last four of the competition in Côte d’Ivoire after the defeat to Mali in their opener.

Bafana knocked out pre-tournament favourites Morocco in the last 16 round and surprise package Cape Verde in the quarterfinals to set up a clash against one of their biggest rivals on the continent.

“Going forward, I’d like to see us attacking more because the more we attack the more we keep our opponents in their own half,” Tlale said to Thabiso Mosia on Radio 2000.

‘Playing too deep’

“Percy Tau is playing too deep and he was defensive in our last game. He’s not the type of player who likes defending. He likes to get the ball and attack opponents to create and score goals. So I think if we can be more offensive, it will give us an advantage by making Nigeria more scared.

“Sometimes we need fresh legs because we take too long to substitute. Even a guy like Tau, I’m not attacking him but we know he can do better. He needs to work more harder to cover part of the team because we expect a lot from him.”

The Mamelodi Sundowns legend added that Bafana will need to have the lion’s share of ball possession if they are to advance to their first final since 1998 where they lost to Egypt in Burkina Faso.

“We must go back to the ball possession style of play because all the teams are tired now. The more we keep the ball, the more we will create more chances,” he said.

“The opponents will also get tired. If you look at our game against Morocco, the guy Amrabat who fouled Mokoena, he was frustrated because he was tired. That was the only thing he could do to stop Teboho from scoring. I think if we go back to our possession base football, it will assist the boys in creating more chances and making our opponents tired.”

Overall, the West Africans have a better head-to-head record against South Africa. In 14 games against Bafana, they have won seven, drawn five and lost two.

The two football powerhouses last met at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt. The Super Eagles soared to a 2-1 win in the quarter-finals.

South Africa lost 2-0 to Nigeria following a Tijani Babangida brace the last time they reached the semi-final of the tournament that was co-hosted by Ghana and Nigeria in 2000.

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