Johannesburg - Former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe believes the national side's Nelson Mandela Challenge clash against
the Ivory Coast can mark a new era for the team.
Radebe admits Bafana's failure to qualify for next year's Africa
Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea will go down as one of the
darkest days in the nation's footballing history, but the former Kaizer
Chiefs ace believes the team needs to move past that and start focusing
on the future.
"I think we've seen that we made a mistake. We can blame them (Bafana) forever or we can look forward to the future", he told Football365.co.za.
"The boys have worked very hard. We were just unfortunate that
results (0-0 against Niger) didn't go our way. We can't dwell on that
Meanwhile, Radebe has also given Pitso Mosimane his full backing,
and the ex-Leeds United captain is confident the head coach can steer
the team away from their recent disappointments.
He added: "Pitso has done a great job. I believe he will get the boys together, get them to regroup quickly.
"I think he has a vision with young players and that is going to work for us."
Radebe, capped 70 times by South Africa between 1992 and 2005,
believes that despite Bafana's failure to reach the last two Africa Cup
of Nations, the team has still progressed on the international front.
"If you look at the team we have now, we don't have that problem
of depth anymore. We have a strong team with lots of top players to
Radebe sees the game against the Elephants as the perfect opportunity to begin re-grouping.
"Ivory Coast is a great team. We have been there before and we
know what it feels like to be one of the best teams around. A result
against them would be a great chance for us go forward," he said.
The league form of veteran strikers Benni McCarthy and Siyo's
time in international football has come and gone, and that the new breed
of players need to be given the chance to prove themselves.
"Benni and Nomvethe have done their job for the team. We need to
look at our youngsters. If this team wants to progress we can't be going
back to older player," he concluded.