'Too much' pressure on Bafana

2013-01-21 08:02
Gordon Igesund (Gallo)

Durban - South Africa coach Gordon Igesund says the pressure to emulate the country's 1996 triumph in the African Cup of Nations is affecting his players.

Speaking on Sunday in Durban - the team's base for its remaining Group A matches - Igesund said the current squad should not be compared to the "legends" of 1996.

Bafana Bafana kicked off the 2013 tournament with a disappointing goalless draw against newcomer Cape Verde in Johannesburg on Saturday.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Bafana v Cape Verde

"There's a lot of talk about the '96 squad, it's right in our faces," Igesund said. "The players are seeing this and reading this all the time ... It's something that wasn't there and shouldn't be there. It's been created. So we have to deal with it."

Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish, Neil Tovey and Mark Williams were part of the 1996 squad which lifted the continental crown on home soil.

"Our players want to emulate that, the nation wants them to ... I think it's a good motivation," Igesund said. "The '96 squad is full of legends and they've done a magnificent job but it's created pressure.

"(Players) should not be thinking about that right now, they should be taking each game as it comes."

South Africa plays its next match against Angola on Wednesday at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, before facing Morocco in its final group match next Sunday. Angola and Morroco also played to a goalless draw in its opening match Saturday.

Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  afcon  |  gordon igesund  |  soccer

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