South Africa captain Thulani Hlatshwayo believes the team can achieve another big feat by knocking out three-time champions, Nigeria from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, Completesports.com reports.
The Bafana Bafana only picked a spot in the Round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams in the competition after winning one (1-0 vs Namibia) and losing two (1-0 to Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco) in Group D. Rhey finished third behind Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire.
But the 1996 winners recorded a shock 1-0 win against hosts Egypt in their second round game at the Cairo International Stadium last Saturday.
Hlatshwayo believes the win will spur his side to perform well against the Super Eagles.
“We knew coming into the game with Egypt that we had to bring heroics. We had to prove to everyone but more importantly to our nation and ourselves, that we can deliver. Our preparation for that game was intense, we knew we had to give it everything we had, and that paid off,” Hlatshwayo told the Bafana Bafana media.
“We’ve now made it into the AFCON quarterfinals for the 6th time in our history, this gives us an opportunity to really chase our dream to win. Our next game is against our biggest rival team, Nigeria.”
Hlatshwayo added: “We know playing them will be tough, but we have a clear understanding of our mission, and we’ll give it our all once again. This is an opportunity for us to regain trust from the fans, to truly discover our identity and have confidence in our capabilities. As captain, I’m confident in the team and what we can achieve.
“There’s a lot of pressure on us to perform well, therefore it is our intention to do our best. It is no longer just about participating but about earning our place on the greatest stage in Africa.
“Whatever the outcome, this is only the beginning for us. I believe that this is a new era and opportunity to do well and participate more in global football competitions. The hope for this tournament is to bring the confidence South Africans once had in us when the team won the tournament in 1996.”
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