Ivory Coast's Max Gradel in action with South Africa's Percy Tau in their #Afcon2019 match on Monday. Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO – Bafana Bafana forward Percy Tau offered a frank assessment of the team’s dismal performance in their 1-0 defeat to Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.

Even if Bafana were given an extra day to try and find an equaliser at the Al Salam Stadium they wouldn’t have, such was the timidness of their attack. Bafana didn’t rattle an Ivoirian side that looked suspect at set-piece time.

Thulani Hlatshwayo and Sifiso Hlanti’s aerial strength in the box was too much for Ivory Coast to handle, but Bafana didn’t put enough pressure on the Elephants and didn’t react with a sense of urgency when they went a goal down in their Afcon opener.

“We could have done better, if we got out attack proper and we got our touches better in attack it was going to be better,” Tau said.

“We couldn’t do that, and we couldn’t get into the game. This is the first match, the second one is going to be a little bit different. We are going to see a lot of improvement from ourselves, and myself also.”

Tau was well-watched by Ivory Coast. He couldn’t breathe without a man in orange in his face, ready to deal with the threat the skillful forward possess.

With Tau being silenced, Lebo Mothiba was denied supply upfront.

“I couldn’t get into the match,” Tau said. “But I don’t think that they were too physical. That’s what we expected. If we got our plan right, it was going to be a different story. I don’t think that you could look at them and see a huge difference.

“But if we attacked properly, it was going to be a different story. As good as they are if we did better in our attack, the scoreline would have been much different.”

Bafana now have to win a tough Southern African derby against Namibia on Friday to keep their chances alive. Morocco and Ivory Coast occupy the top two spots in Group D with three points. The top two teams will cancel each other out in their clash on Friday in a double-header at the Al Salam Stadium.

Bafana and the Brave Warriors will be in search of their first victory in a match they would have targeted to get something from when they saw that they were drawn against Morocco, who are one of the favourites to win Afcon, and Ivory Coast, who won the tournament in 2015.

Burkina Faso Bakary Kone in action with South Africa's Percy Tau in Johannesburg, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko
Burkina Faso Bakary Kone in action with South Africa's Percy Tau in Johannesburg, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Namibia coach, Ricardo Mannetti, said he was excitedly about facing Bafana - revealing that Namibia probably not make it out of the group, but that they would instead decide who goes through. They will be looking to be another obstacle in Bafana’s Afcon journey.

“We are also excited to play against them,” Tau said. “We look forward to the match. We just have to watch this game and see what is it that we need to do better in our attack, and defend better as a team. I think that we defended well.

It’s going to be a nice challenge against Namibia. We have to beat them.”

IOL Sport