Cape Town – Bafana Bafana are targeting a perfect start against Mozambique in the opening fixture of the African Nations Championship (Chan) soccer tournament, goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune said in Cape Town on Friday.
“The plan is to go for three points against Mozambique so that we go into the second match against Mali without pressure,” Khune said of Saturday's crucial Group A opener at Cape Town stadium.
“In any tournament, you need to win the first game as it could determine how far you can go. When you have collected the first three points you can breathe easily.”
Khune, who looked destined to miss out on the tournament following his club's initial refusal to allow him and five other Kaizer Chiefs players to participate, said Bafana had the potential to go all the way in the third edition of the Chan event.
“We just want to write our own history as the class of 2014: go all the way to the final and win because we are the hosts and a lot is expected of us,” he said.
“We have to go out there and do what we can to win the tournament. As a player, every match is important; more so in the national team, where you are representing millions of people with a lot of expectations.”
With ticket sales for the tournament struggling to meet the Local Organising Committee's expectations, Khune called on South Africans to flock to the stadiums in support of the national team, who have never reached the semi-finals of this competition.
“The fans have played a major role in the past and we really appreciate and value their support,” Khune said.
“We urge them to come in numbers to continue with the support. Hearing the vuvuzelas gives us extra confidence.”
Quizzed about the strength of Bafana's squad, Khune said he believed the country could be proud of their representatives and backed the team's newcomers to shine throughout the three-week tournament.
“First of all, I want to welcome the new players (Lindokuhle Mbatha, Asavela Mbekile and Kwanda Mngonyama) in the national team set-up and wish them all the best.
“After a couple of training sessions, they have fitted in like a glove and if you look at our training sessions, you would think they have been here for a while, which is good for the country.” – Sapa