Home support crucial: Khumalo
Johannesburg - Home support will play a pivotal role if South Africa's national team is to have a successful Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign, captain Bongani Khumalo said on Thursday.
"That is the advantage you have when you are playing on home soil; you have the fans right there with you every minute of the game...," he told reporters in Johannesburg.
Bafana Bafana have one training session left before their first match against Cape Verde at the National Stadium on Saturday at 18:00.
Good news in the camp is that midfield kingpin Kagisho Dikgacoi has returned to full training after missing out on Monday and Tuesday. He joined the rest of his team-mates on Wednesday and finished Thursday's session without any complaints.
"The atmosphere South African supporters always create is world class and absolutely unbelievable, and it can inspire every player to go beyond his potential. So coming to this game on Saturday with 90 000 fans is very special. You never know when you will have this opportunity again and we want to make the most of it," Khumalo said.
Head coach Gordon Igesund believes the tournament is motivation enough for the players to do well.
"Playing for your country in front of a full house in the opening game of AFCON is enough to push the players to deliver. Everybody is excited about that and they are jumping out of their skin to get onto the field, I believe they are ready for this."
The Bafana Bafana mentor says pressure is part of the game.
"There is pressure for every single coach in this tournament. If there is a coach who tells you he is not under pressure, he is not telling the truth. But it is the kind of pressure that we can handle, the type that is exciting, the type of pressure that you are hosting the tournament and you want to do well and make the country proud," he added.