Bafana must make the final says Serero

2012-12-29 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa midfielder Thulani Serero says only a place in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) final will be good enough for the country.

The continental showpiece will take place on home soil and much will be expected of the hosts.

Serero, whose participation in the tournament remains in doubt as he is still recovering from a troublesome groin injury, believes Bafana Bafana can and must live up to the billing.

“We have to reach the final at least to make the country proud,” the Ajax attacker told BBC Sport. As we are playing at home, there is a very good chance of us winning the Africa Cup of Nations.”

Gordon Igesund’s side are placed in Group A along with Morocco and Angola, and Serero feels that no team can be taken lightly in the showpiece event.

“There are no dark horses in the tournament. Everyone did well to qualify and anyone could win it,” he said.

“We have good players and a good coach and I think the players are hyped up to show the country what they can do. The pressure on the team is very big, but the players and the coaches all know what is expected and surely we will deliver.

“It’s not like the team has been playing badly; we were just not scoring goals.

Hopefully that will change in the tournament. If we do well, everybody will be happy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bafana have extra motivation to do well at the tournament after midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi confirmed that they will be playing for the late Thomas Madigage, the national team assistant coach who was killed in a car accident in October just three months into the job as Gordon Igesund’s number two.

Dikgacoi has revealed the team are hoping to pay tribute to the former SuperSport United assistant in the best possible way — by winning the tournament on home turf.

He told BBC Sport: “Tommy meant a lot to some of us because he improved us as players. It would be perfect if we could win the tournament and dedicate it to him.

“I know some of us have taken his death quite badly. That will be really inspirational for us every time we step onto the pitch.”

Former Golden Arrows enforcer Dikgacoi is currently an integral part of Crystal Palace’s push for promotion from the Championship to the Premier League in England.

He will play his last game for Palace on New Year’s Day against Wolves before leaving for Johannesburg to link with the rest of the Bafana squad.

“We’ve [South Africa] got a couple of games coming up and if we can do well and win those matches it will give us a morale boost. This time is crucial for us and the friendlies will give the coach a good indication of who is in good shape for the tournament,” said the 28-year-old.

— Sport24.

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