Positive vibe in Bafana camp
Darren Keet (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Darren Keet said the mood in camp was a confident one ahead of next week's Group A 2014 World Cup opening qualifying match against Ethiopia in Rustenburg.
"There is a very positive vibe and mood in the camp, everyone is looking forward to the upcoming games," Keet said on Thursday.
The South African national side will then face Botswana in Gaborone the following week in their second group game, before their friendly international against Gabon on June 15.
Bafana are confident of back-to-back wins in the group stages before their next competition tie against the Central African Republic next March.
"We need to win the home game first [against the Ethiopians]," Keet said.
"Then get to Botswana and win as well.
"This will get us back to a rhythm of winning."
With the unexpected withdrawal of Moeneeb Josephs from the squad earlier in the week, the former Wits shot stopper will be understudy to Itumeleng Khune and Wayne Sandilands.
The 22-year-old Keet now turns out for Kortrijk in Belgium, and is still uncapped at international level.
"For me it's an honour to be called up, and to be part of the mix," he said.
"I know that I am competing with great goalkeepers in this country in Itumeleng and Wayne.
"But that is a healthy competition, and that is how one learns.
"I am young and I believe the experience I am getting here will come in handy in the near future."
Another youngster in the squad is the prodigiously talented Thulani Serero, who plays for Ajax Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Serero is expected to play a critical role should Bafana qualify for Brazil in 2014.
"This is a tough road we will be travelling, but I believe we have a very good team to come out victorious," Serero said.
"Things have been going according to plan in camp, and there's not much pressure because every player knows what is expected of them.
"Every game we play is difficult but we have to go there with a winning mentality."
The 22-year-old Serero - the country's Footballer of the Season last year - was excited about the return of veteran striker Siyabonga Nomvethe to the national squad set up.
Nomvethe is favourite to scoop the accolade at the Premier Soccer League's season-end function on Sunday.
"It's good to play with experienced players like Nomvethe, we can all learn a lot from him," said Serero.
"He has done well this season for his club, and we hope it will rub off onto the national team."
Meanwhile, Santos forward Eleazar Rodgers will link with Bafana later in the day after completing club duties, as will Sweden-based May Mahlangu.