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Football | Bafana Bafana

Bongani Khumalo © Backpagepix

Bafana focused on Afcon challenge



Bafana Bafana skipper Bongani Khumalo says he can see the hunger in his teammates’ eyes as the start of the preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations began in earnest in Cape Town on Thursday.

Bafana are in the city to play Norway in a friendly on Tuesday and had their first training session on Thursday since the squad was cut to the 23 players that coach Gordon Igesund has selected for the continental showpiece.

Khumalo believes that the goalposts have now shifted and that the players have gone from desperately hoping to be in the final squad, to now pushing for a place in the starting XI.

“Competition is healthy for any team and we certainly have that with us here,” Khumalo says. “The guys have gone from battling for a place in the coaches squad to now pushing for a place in the team to face Cape Verde on January 19.

“I could see in the training session that we had today how desperate the guys are to be in that starting XI. Nobody wants to be here just for the ride, they want to play. That is great for us and the guys are certainly looking focused and sharp.”

Khumalo says this new group of players are hoping to create their own piece of history and follow in the footsteps of the 1996 side that won the Nations Cup.

“We are all part of a new group of players and we have created a very good energy so far. We believe in what we are doing and what we can achieve and the players are very ‘together’. The spirit is great.”

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