Johannesburg - Outgoing Amajita coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba has vowed to make the country proud when the national U20 team takes on Cameroon in the second leg of the CAF African Youth qualifying match at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday.
The winner of Sunday's game qualifies for the CAF African Youth Championships scheduled for Senegal next year.
"This is a big match but, having come so close, we cannot afford to let it slip away.
"I know Cameroon have some really good players but we are fully prepared to take matters into our own hands," said Mashaba, who will leave the Amajita post to focus on Bafana Bafana after Sunday's encounter.
"We have done everything possible, now we wait for the day of reckoning - but I am very positive with our focus.
"These players want to make history and you want such an attitude," said Mashaba.
The new Bafana Bafana coach said the general mood regarding football in the country was the best it had been for a long time.
"Everything is beginning to fall into place and taking shape, whether it is the U17, U20, Banyana Banyana.
"The gods of soccer are really starting to smile on us. I would therefore want to call upon the entire country to rally behind the nation and help build this great sport," he said.
Mashaba also urged critics to be fair in their criticism.
"Let us support those called up to the national team and avoid unnecessary criticism. I will continue to monitor all players doing well but I can only have a certain number of players in a squad.
"I said when I named the Bafana Bafana squad that I was not cleaning up but renovating the system.
"And that renovation must begin to take shape with our match against Cameroon," he said.