Johannesburg - Zambia midfielder Noah Chivuta says South Africa have only themselves to blame for failing to reach the Africa Cup of Nations.
GALLERY: Bafana Bafana v Ghana
The 2010 Soccer World Cup hosts were pipped to the showpiece by West
African minnows Niger. Mena progressed via a better head-to-head ratio
after finishing level with Bafana and Sierra Leone on nine points in
Chivuta, who plays for Free State Stars, is disappointed his adopted country will not feature.
"It's a pity Bafana Bafana will not be going to the AFCON, but
with the resources that they have they can only have themselves to
blame," Chivuta told the PSL's official website.
"It's only us and Botswana from the southern region and we will
see it as our responsibility to have a good tournament in order to show
the strength of football in the south of the continent."
Chivuta rates Chipolopolo's tournament prospects as continental giants Egypt, Cameroon and Nigeria all failed to qualify.
"Many of the big teams have not even qualified, so it's going to
be a different tournament. Last time Cameroon topped their group, now
they are not even here.
"Each team gets three games and it's all to play for. We can't
fear Senegal, we have to believe that we can top our group so that we
can avoid playing a side like Ivory Coast in the next round.
"We have a strong side who have been together for over two years
now. There are only one or two new faces, so we know each other well and
the core of the squad gels together very well."
Zambia have been drawn in Group A and will open their account
against Senegal on Saturday before tackling Libya and event co-hosts