Junior Alonso of Paraguay and Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo lift the trophy together after a 1-1 draw in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Moses Mabhida Stadium. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana star Percy Tau is confident that South Africans will have a team to shout for at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations after scoring the equaliser against Paraguay on Tuesday.

While Bafana Bafana produced a better second-half performance in the Nelson Mandela Challenge clash, it looked like Federico Santander’s first-half tap-in was going to be enough for the South Americans to triumph at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

But Stuart Baxter’s team kept plugging away, with a number of shots from outside the box, especially via Vincent Pule, to no avail.

It took until almost the last kick of the match, though, as Pule found substitute Thulani ‘Cream’ Serero, who lived up to his name with a stunning pass that split the Paraguayan defence wide open.

Tau just had goalkeeper Antony Silva to beat, and the Belgian-based attacker coolly chipped the ball into the back of the net to secure a 1-1 draw.

With no penalty shoot-out after the 90 minutes, the teams shared the trophy, and now attention will shift to next March’s crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to Libya.

Bafana just need a point to qualify for the 2019 Afcon in Cameroon, and Tau is convinced that his team will be part of the showpiece.

“I think we will go to Afcon! We just have to keep the momentum going next year,” the Man of the Match told SuperSport in a post-game TV interview after scoring his seventh goal in 17 internationals.

“I think it was a difficult game. We conceded early, but we came back strong. We tried to get our tactics right, and the movement. We got the last goal in the last minute, which is good.

“We didn’t know much about them. They were very physical, and moving the ball fast, which is a good preparation for Libya.

“But we gave everything, and we got a draw.

“It’s good that we have the youngsters also in the team. So, they will always help us with energy, and it’s also a good experience for them.”

@ashfakmohamed


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