SAFA president Danny Jordaan believes Bafana Bafana can emulate the class of 1996 at the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Bafana on Tuesday arrived in Cairo ahead of their tournament opener against Ivory Coast on Saturday, after a week-long camp in Johannesburg followed by another week in Dubai.
Anticipation is building as the showpiece draws near, with Stuart Baxter’s charges largely expected to at least progress through Group D, which also features Morocco and Namibia.
The association boss has now shared what he anticipates from the current crop of players as well as coach Baxter.
“This Bafana Bafana side has what it takes to do well in the forthcoming AFCON tournament,” said Jordaan.
“They are the only side that finished the qualifying matches undefeated with three wins
and three draws.
“They beat both Nigeria and Libya away while overcoming Seychelles at home, sealing a place in the 2019 AFCON Finals in Egypt.
“Pundits are calling Group D the Group of Death. With the group having no less than three former winners of the Africa Cup of Nations trophy, it is no wonder analysts are terming this the toughest group in this AFCON tournament.
“However, Bafana Bafana have not struggled against any of the opponents in the group in previous head-to-head encounters. We have played the three countries in our group a total of 19 times – Ivory Coast (6), Morocco (5) and Namibia (8).
“South Africa has not lost to The Elephants (Ivory Coast) or The Atlas Lions (Morocco), but we have tasted defeat against the Brave Warriors (Namibia) in our first ever meeting back in 1998 in the COSAFA Cup.
“In any event, our boys normally relish matches in which odds are stacked against them. We all know what happened in Tunisia when few gave Stuart Baxter’s boys a chance to come out alive against Libya.
“That was a timely reminder that this team has what it takes to beat anyone on their day. “Coach Baxter has picked a very balanced side consisting of local and overseas-based players, with a good mix between development and seasoned players. It is a side that has stealthy determination and the will to fight to the end.
“While the class of 1996 remains the benchmark of the Men’s Senior National Team achievements, this current squad has all the hallmarks of being able to emulate that feat.
“The entire country comes to a standstill whenever Bafana Bafana play, and this AFCON tournament will be a highly charged affair. I am confident that Baxter and the Boys will do the country proud. Go Bafana Bafana Go!”