Johannesburg - Former Bafana Bafana striker Phil 'Chippa' Masinga has cautioned
the national team will not have an easy passage to the second round of
the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, despite being handed a favourable draw.
Bafana were on Wednesday evening drawn in Group A, along with
Angola, Cape Verde Islands and Morocco - three countries they have never
lost to since re-admission to international football in 1992.
Masinga, who was part of the all-conquering 1996 South Africa
squad that claimed the AFCON title on home soil, says Bafana should not
underestimate their opponents.
"I know people say it is an easy group for us but we have to
realise that the same Angola were part of the World Cup in 2006,"
Masinga told Football411.
"And they have played many times in the AFCON so they will
definitely not be pushovers. I think Cape Verde can be the surprise team
in this group, because for one they are coming here after beating
Cameroon and we all know Morocco is an experienced team.
"So I think it could have been better to get one of the big
countries. I mean, we beat Cameroon in our first match in 1996 and it
set the tone for the rest of the tournament. So when you start off with a
big win, it helps with the confidence levels. I think now we are in
what I could call a tricky group," he said.
Masinga, though, has expressed confidence in Bafana coach Gordon
Igesund, saying he is on the right track with the national team.
"I'm confident we will reach the second round, because Gordon has
been trying very hard to assemble a very strong team and you can tell
he is getting there. All Bafana need is for South Africans to rally
behind the team, the same way they did in 1996 and nothing is
impossible," Masinga added.
Bafana will next be in action against Norway in a friendly international which will be played in Cape Town on January 8.