Bafana Bafana legend Doctor ’16V’ Khumalo has shared his views on Percy Tau missing a penalty in South Africa’s opening defeat against Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Bafana were on top of Mali in the first half and had a chance to take the lead but CAF’s Inter-club Player of the Year, Tau sent the ball over the crossbar, with Mali scoring two goals in the second half to break South African’s hearts.
Khumalo, though, didn’t want to blame Tau for the 2-0 defeat and drew a comparison to when he missed a spot-kick in the 1996 AFCON quarter-final against Algeria and how the Class of ’96 rose above it.
“That’s the package of the game. Those are the ups and downs of the game,” he argued on the 10Bet DNA Podcast.
“I once missed a penalty, we played Algeria in the quarter-finals and it was raining and it was 0-0 by then.
“Algeria had a starstudded team. I missed the penalty but the beauty about the whole thing, the guys – because my head was down – my teammates, I remember very well because most of them said ‘no, no, it’s ok. You don’t have to worry about it, let’s fix this’.
“And remember by that time, we were like firing on all cylinders. Not in my memory or anywhere close is that Fish scored the first goal to equalise and Shoes the late, may his soul rest, scored the second goal…
“What I’m trying to paint a picture here is – penalty missed but what are we doing about it as a collective?”
Doctor also insisted the leaders in the team should’ve stood up and helped the Al Ahly star to overcome the disappoimtment, like it was during his time.
“I think they do have [senior players]. For the mere fact that they are representing the country, they’re supposed to be all senior players, they’re supposed to be having one comon goal to say ‘We go down, we go down as a team. We go up, we go up as a team’,” he continued.
“You pointed out David Nyathi, David is very calm and very soft-spoken but he will tell ‘don’t worry boy’. You know Mdava, the late Chippa Masinga, Mark Williams, we were all captains…
“What I’m trying to say, he might’ve missed the penalty but then are we going to blame Percy because he missed that penalty? But there was ample time to rectify that.
“And that’s the reason why, we play as a team but an individual makes the difference.”
Khumalo also explained that there is no use in arguing over whether Teboho Mokoena should’ve takent he spot-kick because we cannot change it anymore.
“I don’t even want to talk about the Tebza-Percy saga, Teboho wanted to take the penalty but Percy missed. We can’t reverse that, it’s finished,” he added.
“So let them sit down as a team and rectify the situation. Because at the end of the day it’s not lost. They still have two games, which are very tricky but I’d like to believe that they [Bafana] can uplift themselves.”
Bafana return to action on Sunday when they will face Namibia, who beat Tunisia 1-0 in their opening match.
Doctor Khumalo believes that the Bafana Bafana squad can do better in the next fixtures of the Africa Cup of Nations especially against Namibia who are currently doing well.