Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs defender Jimmy Tau says the national-team players
must ignore the negative comments and focus on performing admirably in
the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
According to the football411.com website, Bafana Bafana play AFCON first-timers Cape Verde at the National
Stadium, however, their pre-tournament matches against Norway and
Algeria were met with disapproval from the media and fans alike, and
there is not much optimism ahead of this Group A clash.
Tau, who played at the 2006 AFCON in Egypt, said: "The pressure
is mounting and they should use it to drive themselves, to perform
better, that is the best and only option for them.
"Criticism is part of the game and the players are probably
de-stressing now, letting go of all the negativity and focusing on the
positive. One thing I can tell them all is this, you are there on merit,
it is your time, make the best of it."
This is the second time South Africa are hosting the continental
event, and after the 1996 team captured the trophy on home soil, it adds
to the task ahead. But Tau believes the current crop of players can
cope with all the expectations.
"One of the reasons why there is so much criticism is because we
are hosting it and also because we won it here, on home soil. So the
expectation is there but these players have what it takes to make that
happen," he said confidently.
"We have experienced players like Itu (Khune) and Shabba
(Tshabalala) and young players like (Tokelo) Rantie and Dean (Furman)
who want to prove themselves again and again.
"I am fully behind the team and believe they can achieve success,
it's not impossible. This is our best chance for African glory and we
can do it."
Bafana conclude their Group A fixtures with games against Angola
and Morocco at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on the 23rd and 27th
of January respectively.