Johannesburg - An away win over Congo on Saturday in the Afcon 2015 qualifier could signal a prelude to another era of dominance for Bafana Bafana as it did in 1997, midfielder Dean Furman has said on Thursday.
"We are once again hoping to build something special with this group," he said before the team’s departure for Pointe-Noire at the OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday.
Some 17 years ago Bafana announced their arrival on the global stage when they beat Congo 1-0 to qualify for the 1998 Fifa World Cup in France.
The victory propelled the South African national team to great heights, leaving a footprint beyond the shores of Africa.
Furman said the current crop of Bafana players was a strong and talented group which could prove to be just as good as the “Golden Generation” of the 90s.
“The group of players we have are happy to be here and are proud to be in the national squad. I think in the last two games we showed that fighting spirit and we want to make the country proud.
“We know ourselves and we have a good team and great competition for places and we will be in it all the way for the win.”
Congo led group A -- having won both of their games over Nigeria (3-2) and Sudan (2-0) -- while Bafana were second with a 3-2 win over Sudan and goalless draw against Nigeria.
The clash at Stade Municipal de Pointe-Noire against the Red Devils would be a positive exercise in ensuring Bafana were battle-tested, the Doncaster Rovers enforcer said.
“We know that the conditions can be hostile but we will be ready for that.
"We can’t let that affect us. We have to be ready and we have to be mentally strong. And we are up for the challenge.”
Bafana have set themselves a lofty target for the trip, positive they could return home with the precious points.
“We go into every game wanting to win. We have got a lot of confidence from our past two performances," Furman said.
"We know that they picked up some terrific results from their last few games and we know that they have a lot of quality.”
Performing in an atmosphere known for its hostility, Furman said the South Africans would stand their ground and be fearless.
“We don’t have anything to be scared of. We give them the respect that is due. There is no reason to be intimidated.
“We know that the crowd is going to be hostile and the conditions aren’t going to be what we are exactly used to, but that’s part of football and we need to able to deal with it.”
Furman’s attacking partner in midfield Sibusiso Vilakazi highlighted the importance of mental strength against the fierce opponents.
“It’s important that we keep full concentration on the game and to be focused. It will be difficult for us but there is good motivation in that we can go there in a tough environment and get back with a win.”
The midfield maestro said they needed to win at all costs to keep up with the pace of a tough qualifying group.
“We are going there looking for a positive result, anything less than that would be viewed as a disappointment.”