Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana legend Doctor Khumalo believes
that the national team’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations opening defeat to Ivory
Coast is further evidence of a downward spiral since 1996.
READ: 5 things Bafana need to fix ahead of Namibia clash
An abysmal performance in their 1-0 loss to the West
African giants were only spared further embarrassment due to brilliant goalkeeping
in the closing minutes by Ronwen Williams.
The result means Stuart Baxter's charges must get a result
against Namibia on Friday to stand a realistic chance of advancing out of Group
D of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
"It is such a pity that Bafana Bafana lost their opening match of
the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, against Ivory Coast," Khumalo, who won the AFCON in 1996 with Bafana, told Soccer Laduma.
"I wish them everything of the
best in their second and very crucial game against Namibia on Friday. I really
hope the boys will make it past the group stages and see what happens in the knockout
"When you analyse Bafana Bafana's performances in this
tournament since 1996, you'll realise that we've been on a sort of a downward
"We won it in 1996, lost in the final two years later and we started
deteriorating from being eliminated in the group stages and then we failed to
reach the group stages.
"As if that wasn't enough, we started not qualifying at
all and that speaks volumes about our performances over the years."
He added: "Having said that, I should say that as much as we
don't have many overseas-based players plying their trade in big leagues, we
still expect our national team to do better.
"If you cast your mind back to
1996, you will remember that we only had a handful of players in that squad who
were based overseas, with the rest of the team comprised of locally-based
Bafana Bafana face-off against neighbours Namibia on Friday (kick-off at 22:00 SA time) before tackling Morocco on Monday evening.