Bafana Bafana needs all the support from the nation Lucas Radebe
Lucas Radebe has conceded South Africa will face a mammoth task at the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations, saying the team nicknamed Bafana Bafana could not be expected to replicate their performance of 1996, when they won the tournament for the first time.
South Africa hosts the continental championships for the second time from January 19 to February 10. Radebe, who featured prominently in the 1996 side that swept to glory when SA first hosted the competition, said the hosts Bafana should aim to get out of the group phase rather than aim for outright victory. “It’s going to be too difficult for us,” the former Leeds United defender said in Durban ahead of Wednesday’s final Cup of Nations draw, which will take place at the Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (8.30pm local time ).
“There’s a lot of expectation but I don’t think we can win it. People look back to the 1996 squad and what we achieved, but a lot has changed since that time. It's unfair on the current team.” Radebe cited the fact that South Africa have an almost completely new squad, and a new technical team headed by Gordon Igesund, who has coached for just four matches thus far.
“You look at 1996, we had a stable team. We had been together for a long time and had gelled well leading up to the tournament. Now there’s been chopping and changing of players. There’s a new manager as well. Yes, we are playing at home and naturally that should be an advantage. But if we get out of our group we would have done extremely well." He added Bafana had the potential to make the final. “Once you’re in the knockout phase anything can happen. You can get all the way to the final but I don’t think we can win it,” he said.
Radebe urged South Africans to rally behind their team. “There has been a lot of criticism levelled at Bafana, but for next year, every South African will have to give the team full support. Home support is the biggest incentive we can have. It will surely uplift the morale of the players.” Radebe added the Cup of Nations was one of the most difficult tournaments around, and next year’s event won’t be any different. “It will take a lot of commitment and sacrifice for any team to win this competition. Look at a big team like Cameroon, they didn’t even qualify. So the Cup of Nations is difficult to predict.”
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
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