JOHANNESBURG - It has been 20 years since Phil Masinga scored the goal that took Bafana Bafana to their maiden Fifa World Cup appearance.
Masinga scored a thunder-bolt in a crucial World Cup qualifier against Congo-Brazzaville at FNB Stadium on August 17, 1997, to book Bafana's ticket for France.
Tied on 10 points heading into the match, Masinga was the hero on the day and he believes that Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns can also be a saviour for Bafana this time around.
Bafana have to win their two crunch qualifiers against Senegal, home and away, if they want to compete against the best of the best in Russia next year.
“If Tau wants to make a name for himself, this is the time. He is a player with great potential. For me, he is going to be vital for us upfront,” the 1997 hero elaborated.
Tau made it onto the list of the eleven players who performed at their optimum during this year’s edition of the Caf Champions League. He has also been nominated for the Caf African Footballer of the Year.
“I’m in support of Bafana Bafana. I know that on their day they can deliver and I hope they do. I believe we can beat Senegal in both matches. They have to go out there and know that millions of South Africans are behind them,” Masinga said.
"We want to show character and a good attitude. They have to think positive. If it means breaking their own legs, they have to do that. We don’t need to play good football in these matches but we need to show character and good mental attitude.
"We didn’t play pretty against Congo. We scored early and they came back strong but we kept them at bay. I remember there was a ball that the late Sizwe Motaung saved on the line. It is important though to take the game to them as we did in 1997."
Bafana’s camp has been hit by a lot of problems. They are currently languishing at the bottom of the log with four points after four matches, while Senegal are sitting on top of the log with eight points.
“They have good players who are playing in Europe but I believe we also have quality to match their talent,” Masinga concluded.