Bafana confident of progressing beyond Afcon’s first round

2013-01-18 11:06

Bafana Bafana’s moment of truth has finally arrived.

The South Africans take on little-known Cape Verde in the opening of the Africa Cup of Nations tomorrow with the nation holding its breath for the team to do well. Kickoff is at 6pm.

Although things have not been going well for the team as they lost and drew their last two friendly games, coach Gordon Igesund has remained optimistic about his team’s chances of doing well in the tournament.

Bafana are so confident of progressing beyond the first round that they have agreed to forgo their match bonuses for the first three games.

Captain Bongani Khumalo said by doing this they wanted to demonstrate their commitment to the nation and that they were not greedy, as some people were made to believe.

“We want to show our loyalty to the country and that we are confident of reaching the knockout stage. We want to succeed in this tournament and show the people of South Africa that we are there for them,” said Khumalo. He said it was an honour for him to lead a group of players who were not greedy.

Khumalo, who got the armband after Steven Pienaar’s retirement from the team, will lead the team for the first time in an official game and said it was a privilege for him.

Igesund declared that the team was ready. He said they had done what they had to do in terms of preparations and he was happy with how things had panned out.

“I am excited going into this tournament and I am more positive. Our mind-set is positive and we are focused on the tournament. I think we are well prepared and we will do our best,” said Igesund.

He said he had an idea of what kind of opposition they would come up against based on video footage.

“We have been analysing their previous games and, although we have not seen them live we have done enough to have an idea of what we can expect. But I am sure they have also done the same about us.”

Igesund said he had tried not to give away his starting line-up for tomorrow’s game but said there would not be too many changes from the players that played against Norway and Algeria last week.

Igesund said after President Jacob Zuma’s visit to the team this week, the spirit was high in the camp.

After sitting out two training sessions, midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi has fully recovered from the knock on his knee that he suffered in the game against Algeria.

In another group A match Angola will taken on Morocco at 9pm.

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