With Bafana Bafana playing their 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) opening match against Mali tonight, veteran midfielder Percy Tau says they want to do something special at the tournament taking place in Ivory Coast.
A lot will be expected from head coach Hugo Broos’ charges following an impressive run in the qualifiers and in recent friendly matches.
The South Africans kick off their campaign against the man-mountains of Mali and will be hoping for a positive result.
The match will take place at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo at 10pm local time. Other teams in Group E include Tunisia and neighbours Namibia, who will also play their opener on Tuesday. Kick-off is at 7pm.
Dream is to win Afcon
“It is a dream to win Afcon, it will be an honour and everyone in the squad shares the same dream,” Tau told Safa media.
“We believe that this is the moment for us to grow as a country and we will try and do something special. People always have perceptions about the national team.
“We have tried our best over the years, and we will continue to try, and we will grow as a football country.
“We have only won Afcon once, we are looking forward to the tournament and we want to do better.”
Broos said it would be fantastic to win the Afcon tournament twice as a coach. The Belgian lifted the trophy when he guided Cameroon to victory in the 2019 edition of the spectacle.
Winning Afcon is unique
Said Broos ahead of their opening game: “When you have won Afcon once, you want to win it twice.
“Winning Afcon is unique, and it was a fantastic feeling six years ago. You can be sure that I am dreaming about winning for the second time, but it is much easier saying it than doing it. Let us start on Tuesday, do our best and we will see how far we go.
“This team has made good progress in the last two years. We started with a brand new team, we had difficulties in the beginning because I did not know SA players.
“But we managed to get good results. We beat Morocco and we played a good draw against Ivory Coast.
“We are here now [Afcon] and this is what this team needs, a tournament at the highest level, so that we can see how far we have come.”