Pretoria — Bafana Bafana players are confident ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) opening match against Cape Verde on Saturday, says Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.
"The players told me that they are committed to make the nation proud and they were oozing with confidence during my visit to the training camp with President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday.
"As for what will happen on Saturday, I bet for Bafana Bafana to win their first match, but Cape Verde is equally a strong side, but I have no doubt that we are going there to fight for our pride and to fight to win," he said.
Mbalula was speaking to SAnews at the activation of the mass mobilisation campaign for the tournament at Olympia stadium in Rustenburg on Tuesday afternoon.
The objective of the campaign is to galvanise support for Bafana and for the 2013 Afcon as well as to increase the drive for tournament's ticket sales.
The class of 1996 Bafana players - such as Doctor Khumalo, Edward "Magents" Motale, Jerry "legs of thunder" Skhosana, Zane Moosa and Linda "Mercedes Benz" Buthelezi - visited the Waterfall Taxi Rank and Phokeng plaza along with the tournament's mascot Takuma.
Former Mamelodi Sundowns star, Zane Moosa, said like any other South African, he was expecting the national team to repeat what happened in 1996 when the country won the Afcon trophy.
"We do have strikers with the ability to score goals, but maybe they are over anxious to get the ball behind the net, but people should not write off Bafana for failing to score goals in their last Afcon preparatory games. Those were friendly games so sometimes you don't have to showcase all your game winning tactics ahead of the tournament.
"Our strikers need to be confident and once they can start scoring those much needed goals, it will become a habit," he said.
Moosa said since Katlego Mphela was not yet match fit - he was out of action because of an injury - he was expecting Tokelo Rantie to start with the match against the Afcon debutants on Saturday.
"I would like to see Rantie start the match against Cape Verde on Saturday because he's very quick with the ball and he knows how to frustrate the opposition defenders," he said.
Moosa encouraged all South Africans to go out in their numbers to rally behind Bafana Bafana.