'Please get behind Bafana as you always do‚' says Furman to South Africans
The favourites tag is the furthest thing from Dean Furman's mind as Bafana Bafana prepare to face Ivory Coast in the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt.
The tournament gets underway when hosts Egypt tackle a tricky Zimbabwe side at Cairo International Stadium on Friday night but Bafana will have to wait until Monday night before opening their account against the Ivorians.
Furman said a good impression in that opening game would set the tone for the rest of the event.
“We believe we have a strong team and we are coming to the tournament very strong based on our qualification where we went undefeated‚” said Furman‚ who is expected to start alongside Kamohelo Mokotjo in Bafana’s engine room.
“Our away victory against Nigeria and our crucial victory against Libya away (during the qualifying campaign) give us a lot to be confident about.
“Our first target is to get out of the group and then thereafter it’s a knockout competition.”
Furman said they are happy to fly below the radar without the burden of expectation that usually accompanies teams identified as favourites to win competitions.
“No I don’t think we are favourites but we are happy with where we are‚” he said.
“We know we’ve got quality in this team.
"I don’t think we are favourites for the tournament and I don’t think we are favourites from the group.
"We have a lot of belief in our squad and that’s what is important.
“So we are not too concerned about what people are saying‚ we just know that if we perform we can achieve big things in this tournament.
Furman pleaded with the South African public to rally behind the team in Egypt.
“Please get behind us as you always do and we hope you will be cheering us on from home‚” Furman said.
“We hope that we can show on the pitch that we are a top team to be reckoned with in this continent.
“We just need to apply what we’ve done in training into our games and we hope that will be evident in our first game against Ivory Coast.”
Bafana will face 1992 and 2015 champions Ivory Coast and 1976 winners Morocco in Group D.
Southern African neighbouring country Namibia make up the fourth team in the group.
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