Today’s French Ligue 1 clash between RC Strasbourg and HPC Montpellier is set to pit Lebogang Mothiba against Keagan Dolly, while Daniel Mothowagae wonders whether Percy Tau will get his Uefa Champions League breakthrough on Tuesday.
Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki declared that – like many South Africans – he was disappointed Percy Tau was left on the bench despite expectations that the striker would mark his Uefa Champions League debut a fortnight ago.
However, Twitter was abuzz when Tau starred for his Belgian side Club Brugge this week.
The 25-year-old came off the bench with a goal and created two more in Brugge’s 3-0 win over Royal Francs Borain in a Belgian Cup fixture on Wednesday.
Tau’s exploits midweek coincided with Ntseki’s announcement of a 23-member squad to face Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge in Port Elizabeth on October 13.
“I was disappointed when Tau didn’t get the run that night. But for him to come back in the manner he did on Wednesday shows that he’s becoming stronger mentally,” Ntseki told City Press.
Tau was an unused substitute when Brugge were held to a goalless draw by Galatasaray two weeks ago.
Like the majority of South Africans, Ntseki feels Tau’s five-star display should have served as an ideal audition for the former Mamelodi Sundowns star, and that he should start in Brugge’s next Champions League fixture against Real Madrid at the Estadio Bernabeau on Tuesday.
“As a national team coach, the pressure of selecting players lessens and the choices become more specific. In other words, when our overseas-based players get the minutes, you tick all the boxes as this makes the profiling of players much easier.”
Ntseki has named Tau in the squad to face Mali.
Mzansi’s Super Sunday in France
Both Lebo Mothiba and Keagan Dolly have been enjoying playing time at their respective clubs in the French Ligue 1.
Expectations are that the pair will feature for Strasbourg and Montpellier when the two sides meet at Stade de la Meinau this afternoon at 3pm.
Again, should the duo turn out for their sides – who are desperate for points – Ntseki, who included the pair for the Mali game, would be pleased.
Dolly – who has accumulated 52 minutes in five league appearances so far – has just returned to action after battling injuries over the past few months.
The 26-year-old winger lost out on a place in the team that did duty at Afcon, where Bafana reached the quarterfinals during the June-July continental championships in Egypt.
“I was worried that the two [Mothiba and Dolly] were not playing when we came back from Afcon. If they are playing abroad, they come to the Bafana camps with their confidence high,” said Ntseki.
“And when our overseas-based players don’t get playing minutes, yet get regular national team call-ups, as a coach you spend time having to defend why you pick them when they’re not playing at their clubs.
“So I am happy to see Bafana players, including locally based ones, being given game time by their coaches. It is good for our game against Mali.”
Mothiba – with six out of seven league appearances – played 90 minutes in Strasbourg’s 2-0 loss to Lille on Wednesday.
It was the just the second time that he was handed a full game this season.
Dolly was an unused substitute in Montpellier’s 1-0 win over Nîmes Olympique on Wednesday.