South Africa/Mali: Khumalo and Khune Welcome Mali As Their Afcon Quarter-Final Opponents

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix
May Mahlangu of South Africa scores one of the goals which took the host team through to the quarter-finals.

Bafana Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo and his deputy Itumeleng Khune have welcomed the fact that South Africa will face Mali in the quarter-finals of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations Cup South Africa 2013 at the Durban cauldron of Moses Mabhida Stadium on 2 February.

The match kicks off at 20h30.

But they have also cautioned against complacency adding it won't be an easy day in the office.

Mali drew 1-1 with DR Congo to finish second in Group B and secure their last eight spot.

South Africa booked their place in the last eight following a dramatic encounter against Morocco on Sunday, 27 January that ended in a 2-2 draw.

The result eliminated Morocco and Angola in the competition.

"Being in the quarter-finals is never easy and it gets more difficult because everyone wants to be in the last four. Regardless of who we would have come up against, our main objective is to proceed to the next round. Mali are a very useful side but we are now motivated and we will give it our all," said Bafana Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo.

His words were echoed by vice captain, goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune who was Man of the Match during the Morocco game.

"I think it's going to be a great game because Mali is a very good side. For us we now have to take one game at a time. We know it's not going to be easy and we cannot afford to take Mali lightly. They did well to get this far and they are a dangerous side, so we have to work harder to win the game and proceed to the next stage," said Khune.

"We are done with the Morocco game and we now have to turn our focus to the quarter-finals but at this moment, we are hungry to achieve more. We now have a lot of confidence after coming out of the group stages especially after the character we showed in the last game," added Khune.

The match is sold out and this is good news for Bafana Bafana.

"It's brilliant, it also highlights the incredible support we have had and everybody wants to come and watch us whenever we play and that is just great. We are very grateful for their support and hopefully they will give us the boost we need on Saturday. And playing in front a big crowd like the one we saw against Morocco is as a positive sign that we are doing something right, because in any case pressure is there in every game we play. This is a very special game which is now a sell-out just like the past match and our supporters will work as the 12th player as usual," said Khumalo.

"It's going to be a great game, and having to stay in Durban will play a major role because it is always an advantage to us," said Khune.

In the other semi-final, to be played early on Saturday in Port Elizabeth, Group B leaders Ghana will play against Cape Verde Islands who ended second in Group A.

The match kicks off at 17h00 at the Nelson Mandela Bay StadiumKhumalo and Khune welcome Mali as their AFCON quarter-final opponents

Bafana Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo and his deputy Itumeleng Khune have welcomed the fact that South Africa will face Mali in the quarter-finals of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations Cup South Africa 2013 at the Durban cauldron of Moses Mabhida Stadium on 2 February.

The match kicks off at 20h30.

But they have also cautioned against complacency adding it won't be an easy day in the office.

Mali drew 1-1 with DR Congo to finish second in Group B and secure their last eight spot.

South Africa booked their place in the last eight following a dramatic encounter against Morocco on Sunday, 27 January that ended in a 2-2 draw.

The result eliminated Morocco and Angola in the competition.

"Being in the quarter-finals is never easy and it gets more difficult because everyone wants to be in the last four. Regardless of who we would have come up against, our main objective is to proceed to the next round. Mali are a very useful side but we are now motivated and we will give it our all," said Bafana Bafana captain Bongani Khumalo.

His words were echoed by vice captain, goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune who was Man of the Match during the Morocco game.

"I think it's going to be a great game because Mali is a very good side. For us we now have to take one game at a time. We know it's not going to be easy and we cannot afford to take Mali lightly. They did well to get this far and they are a dangerous side, so we have to work harder to win the game and proceed to the next stage," said Khune.

"We are done with the Morocco game and we now have to turn our focus to the quarter-finals but at this moment, we are hungry to achieve more. We now have a lot of confidence after coming out of the group stages especially after the character we showed in the last game," added Khune.

The match is sold out and this is good news for Bafana Bafana.

"It's brilliant, it also highlights the incredible support we have had and everybody wants to come and watch us whenever we play and that is just great. We are very grateful for their support and hopefully they will give us the boost we need on Saturday. And playing in front a big crowd like the one we saw against Morocco is as a positive sign that we are doing something right, because in any case pressure is there in every game we play.

This is a very special game which is now a sell-out just like the past match and our supporters will work as the 12th player as usual," said Khumalo.

"It's going to be a great game, and having to stay in Durban will play a major role because it is always an advantage to us," said Khune.

In the other semi-final, to be played early on Saturday in Port Elizabeth, Group B leaders Ghana will play against Cape Verde Islands who ended second in Group A.

The match kicks off at 17h00 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

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