WHEN they first arrived in the country, Bafana Bafana's Bryce Moon and Tsepo Masilela were astounded at the energy and atmosphere that has engulfed the country.
The two full-backs were yesterday happy to field questions from the media, ranging from the state of their fitness, to the thorny topic of incentives, which is never far off where Bafana are concerned, especially with
Safa chief executive Leslie Sedibe announcing that a goal will be worth a cool R1million.
What was their take on that?
Moon said: "I guess it is good to promise the players something - I think it will motivate us more.
"But no amount of money can compare to actually holding the cup for your country."
Moon, who is on loan at Greek Super League club PAOK FC from Panathinaikos and Masilela, who plays for Israel's Maccabi Haifa, found themselves in unfamiliar territory when they were swamped with love by usually reticent South Africans when they eventually joined the final camp before the World Cup kickoff.
Moon said: "When I saw the side mirrors (on cars), the flags hit me. It is an unbelievable feeling and I cannot put into words what it means to me to see that."
Masilela said: "Everywhere we have gone we have been shown incredible amounts of love.
"I have never seen anything like it before. The support means a lot to us."
When it comes to on-field tactics, one of coach Carlos Alberto Parreira's favourites has been his preference for using the two full-backs on attack - something that would suit the two players very well.
Moon said: "I certainly enjoy being a part of the attacking unit."
But the players are aware that to keep the overwhelming goodwill going, it is imperative to make a good first impression in their opening match against Mexico.
"I know I always need to work very hard to impress the coach - no player is guaranteed a place in the final squad and once we are in there, we must deliver," Masilela said.