Igesund: We want to emulate 1996 teamComment on this story
Johannesburg – Head coach Gordon Igesund hopes for a repeat of Bafana Bafana's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) victory in 1996.
South Africa are again hosting the tournament in 2013, after Libya withdrew due to political unrest in the country, with Bafana having lifted their only Afcon trophy as hosts 16 years ago.
“If you go to '96, it was magnificent,” Igesund said on Tuesday.
“We want to emulate that now. We want to get into the semi-finals, and the final, and do well. I believe we have the players to do that.”
Igesund said his main task in the build-up to the event was to reduce the size of the national squad.
“The league has been really exciting which means now my job is becoming very tough. The squad I have of 35 has to be cut down,” he said.
“After the game against Malawi, our preparations will really begin.”
Igesund assured that there was still a chance for players to cement their places in the final squad.
“Because of the fact that we have a match against Malawi, then a three-day break and then another camp, I can’t call one squad for this and one squad for the other.
“So that is why I have called up a squad of plus-minus 30 players and keep on changing them.
“I would also like to give some of the players who have recently returned to action after injuries, a chance to prove themselves.”
At this stage, Igesund said he had an outline of the core group of players he would use for Afcon, but the selection of the final team would present a challenge.
“We never said it was going to be an easy task. It's going to be a difficult task.
“Right now I've got a (confirmed) squad of about 16 or 17 players and I need to make sure of the other group of players.
“It would have been nice to work with the players every single day.”
Igesund expected little known Cape Verde, their opponents in the opening match at FNB Stadium on January 19, to pose a difficult challenge.
“Cape Verde are not going to be a walk in the park. Twenty of their players are playing in the league in Portugal. We need to know a lot more about them.”
South Africa will play three warm-up matches against Malawi in Durban on December 22, Norway in Cape Town on January 8, and Algeria in Soweto on January 12. – Sapa