Tovey upbeat about Bafana’s Afcon chances

2012-10-23 08:58

Africa Cup of Nations-winning captain Neil Tovey believes South Africa can use home advantage to conquer the continent again in next year’s tournament.

Bafana Bafana are ranked only 19 in Africa and owe a place among the top seeds to being hosts of the three-week championship that kicks off on January 19 at the 90 000-seat FNB Stadium in Nasrec, south of Joburg.

But the man who led his country to glory when they hosted the 1996 Africa Cup says getting off to a good start is much more important than where a team stands on the monthly Confederation of African Football (CAF) rankings.

Debutants South Africa walloped Cameroon 3-0 in the tournament opener 16 years ago and Tovey said it was a huge boost for a side that went on to defeat Tunisia 2-0 in a final watched by then-president Nelson Mandela.

“Outplaying Cameroon set the tone for the tournament and gave us breathing space because we were in a difficult group with Angola and Egypt,” he said ahead of the first-round draw tomorrow in Durban.

“Playing at home can be a tremendous advantage and everyone rallied behind the team 16 years ago, driving us on to some great victories and the trophy,” recalled Tovey.

“South Africa could go all the way again.”

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