Johannesburg – Bafana Bafana midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala believes the national football team can lift the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) trophy in front of their home crowd.
Tshabalala scored the opening goal of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, powering in a long-range effort in South Africa's 1-1 draw against Mexico at FNB Stadium.
Bafana will open the Afcon tournament at the same venue against the little known Cape Verde Islands on January 19.
“It's a tough task, and a big challenge, but as professionals we know the expectations,” Tshabalala said on Friday.
“Playing at home is an honour and should be a motivation for us as players.
“I think that we must do well and go all the way and play for our country and wear the national jersey with pride.”
Tshabalala admitted he had not been at his best this season for Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs, but he believed he was making valuable contributions and creating goals.
“I'm not on top of my game, but I'm doing well for the team,” he said.
“I'm continuing from where I left off last season with my assists.
“So far I've made five assists, so I wont say I've lost form but just dropped.”
South Africa will host the Afcon tournament for the second time, less than three years after the country staged what was widely considered a successful World Cup.
The last time the nation hosted the continental showpiece, in 1996, Bafana went on to lift the title.
After the opening match of next year's tournament, the South Africans will face Angola and Morocco, their other Group A opponents, in Durban. – Sapa