Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos has played down the suggestions of any nerves ahead of South Africa's opening 2023 AFCON qualifier against Morocco.
South Africa are set to commence with their 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign on Thursday when Hugo Broos' charges go head to head with Group K rivals Morocco at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium.
"It's a big qualifier because Morocco are a very good team and it's the first game of the qualifiers," Broos told SAFA's media team. "The first game of the qualifiers and the first game is always important.
"If you can record a good result, it becomes a little bit easier for the next games because you don't have to chase the other ones. It's a little bit different now with three countries [after Zimbabwe's ban] in one group, so it's a little bit different but having a good start is important.
"It's a tricky situation," he added. "At the moment, Zimbabwe is out and I heard left and right that 'it will be easier now.' Nothing is easy. Even the games against [fellow Group K side] Liberia will not be easy.
"We have to play those games and be at the best level to win those games. Again, one more or one less, it changes things a little bit, and if we win twice in September then we qualify, but you have to win twice. It's always the same thing, you have to win the games."
Despite the magnitude of the occasion, Broos has played down the suggestion of any nerves in Morocco as his side looks to embark on a strong qualification campaign ahead of next year's tournament in Ivory Coast.
"I am never nervous before a game, never," the Belgian tactician revealed. "The nerves start about two hours before the kick-off and then you are a little bit tense but it's normal because you want to win the game. But real stress, no, I don't know it."
Scroll through the gallery to see South Africa's all-time leading goalscorers in AFCON qualifying