SOCCER icon Jomo Sono feels that Bafana Bafana players will have to "show the will to die for their country" in the opening 2010 Fifa World Cup match against Mexico.
"The match against Mexico on June 11 will be the most crucial one for Bafana Bafana. It won't be (about) tactics," he said during the World Cup 30 days countdown celebrations at Soccer City yesterday.
Sono feels that Bafana will have no excuse for not making it past the second round, given the groundswell of support from South Africans.
Bafana Bafana did not get past the first round in their two previous World Cup appearances in 1998 in France and 2002 in South Korea and Japan.
"I fancy an African team to reach the semifinals or final. On paper Ivory Coast are good but the problem is they tend to choke during the big competitions," Sono said.
"Bafana Bafana must first reach the knockout stages and I strongly believe they will make it.
"(Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira) has had quality time with the team to prepare for the World Cup with the camps in Durban, Brazil, Germany and here in Johannesburg.
"In the past, Safa would just say 'Jomo, come and take over', and the coach is gone just two weeks before the start of the tournament. We have good players like Steven Pienaar, Aaron Mokoena, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Macbeth Sibaya doing well in Europe, which is a plus for Bafana Bafana."
On the use of "special projects" (muti), Sono said: "Coaches are different. Parreira will use the special projects from Brazil.
"When a player from Mexico or any of the teams playing against Bafana Bafana sees a lot of smoke in the tunnel on June 11, that will be special projects. We hope it will work for us."
Sono has described Argentina as his dark horses for the World Cup.