Rustenburg — Bafana Bafana will silence their critics with an impressive victory on their opening match of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) against tournament debutants Cape Verde on Saturday, says former Bafana striker Philemon Masinga.
"This tournament is not going to be easy since there are no longer smaller teams and with us being regarded as under dogs because of the national team's failure to win games, I believe there would be a lot of surprises during the tournament.
"It is important for our national team to win their first group stage match as this will boost their confidence to win the remaining games, so I strongly believe that the national team will surprise us by winning their opening match on Saturday," he said.
The former Bafana star was speaking to SAnews at a mass mobilisation campaign for the tournament at Olympia stadium in Rustenburg on Tuesday.
The objective of the campaign is to galvanise support for Bafana for the 2013 Afcon as well as to increase the drive for tournament ticket sales.
In the morning, an open Bus with the class of 1996 Bafana players, Rustenburg football legends as well Platinum Stars players visited the Waterfall Taxi Rank and Phokeng plaza with the tournament's mascot Takuma.
Rustenburg is the host city of group stage matches which includes the tournament's favourite Ivory Coast, Togo, Algeria and Tunisia.
While Bafana are faced with the challenge of not scoring goals, Masinga said: "Yes this is our major problem, but the coach has been working on it and I have no doubt on the selected strikers.
"All these strikers (Bernard Parker, Tokelo Rantie, Lehlohonolo Majoro) and our top class striker Katlego Mphela will score goals for us during this tournament. Yes, Mphela has been out of action for few months because of an injury, but this is not a player to ignore when he's available."
Masinga urged South Africans to rally behind the national team throughout the tournament. "In 1996, we were able to win the tournament because the nation was behind us, so as South Africans let us make it easy for our national team to win this tournament for us by giving them all our support."
Bafana will play their opening match against Cape Verde on Saturday at the national (FNB) Stadium in Johannesburg at 6pm.