Home Sport Soccer The night when Baxter found his voice and sang along

The night when Baxter found his voice and sang along


Tau is such a thrill to watch as he conjures goals from nowhere like a magician pulls rabbits out of a hat.

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Wow! Isn’t it wonderful what a win by the national football team can do for the country? Not to talk about the miraculous language abilities that it can impart to any person who previously could not utter any ordinary word from any vernacular of their country of employ.

You must have seen national team coach Stuart Baxter going full throttle in isiZulu nogal with the boys in the squad’s change room just after that convincing 2-1 win against Libya on Sunday night. The coach was in tune and singing in full voice. Auweng banna! (let’s do this!)

But who in her right mind can blame Baxter especially after that superb performance by the squad? After that win even usually couch potatoes would be capable of lifting a thousand tons with their little finger.

The destruction of Libya’s dream was chiefly a team effort but you have to single out a few star performers, like only a true champion couch potato can. Darren Keet between the sticks was absolutely marvelous. He was not always like that either in the Bafana Bafana jersey or at his own club, where he’s made very few appearances of late.

From the get-go Keet was on fire fending off attacks on his posts like a cow’s tail flicks away pesky flying insects.

The first time he stopped a dead certain goal-bound ball in about the first five minutes of the game I thought it must be a fluke and unlikely to be repeated. So I said my silent thank yous and hoped there won’t be any more of those flying towards our posts.

But the Lybians had not heard my prayer and they kept them coming even hotter than before. Darren Keet stood firm, calmly collected and distributed the ball to the right players. This calmed the nerves somewhat – mine and that of his teammates.

With Keet now a certainty in goal, one could tell that the pressure shifted to the Bafana forwards who had to come up with a plan of how to puncture the Lybian defence. Now if you are familiar with Percy Tau’s style of play you will know that he has a very unusual style which I hope the opposition in Egypt will not know too much about.

Tau sometimes collects a pass while on the run on his right side. He then shifts his body over the ball and moves sideways towards the left field to accommodate his natural shooting left boot. He then sends the ball flying diagonally into the net somewhat in the opposite direction from where he came from. This trick came in handy twice on Sunday.

Tau’s style fools many of his markers because he stands in the wrong place to receive the ball for his shooting style. It makes it awkward for a marker to get to the ball as it is naturally shielded. Tau is such a thrill to watch as he conjures goals from nowhere like a magician pulls rabbits out of a hat.

Before Tau did that trick I could not make out how the team was going to give a good return on Darren Keet’s superb goalkeeping effort.

The South African forwards seemed to be at sixes and sevens upfront where they were often outnumbered by the Libyan defenders.

One of our forwards, Sfiso Hlanti, was at times too far away from the big square box of the Libyans, prefering to play almost on the touchline. Seeing him do that was not encouraging. But of course it made sense later on as Tau moved into Hlanti’s zone to shoot to goal.

Bare in mind there are plenty more talented players who did not make it into the starting eleven. One of them is our homeboy Rivaldo Coetzee.

So, for now, let us celebrate till we will meet at the pyramids in June!