Bafana almost there - Last 16 hope for SA

Bafana Bafana's Percy Tau.
Bafana Bafana's Percy Tau.
Image: Anesh Debiky/ Gallo Images/File photo

Bafana Bafana are not under pressure to beat Morocco at Al-Salam Stadium tonight (6pm) in their final Group D game of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Although Bafana can even lose to Morocco and still make it through as one of the best third-placed teams and with three points after beating Namibia 1-0 in their last match, there's hope for Stuart Baxter's men to progress to the last 16 of the expanded tournament.

At training and at their base, Bafana have cut a relaxed figure, but star forward Percy Tau has suggested it's not because they have more chances to reach the next round.

"It's a bit about being focused. We are just being focused on our mission and to prepare to get better as the matches go by," Tau said at a pre-match briefing yesterday.

"We are trying to focus on every match that comes."

The 25-year-old assured the nation that Bafana are getting better with every match in the tournament.

"As a group we feel much stronger. We feel that we are going to get to a point where we are at our best. With more minutes and good results, we feel that we will get to a stage where we say, 'this is our best performance'," he said.

Meanwhile, coach Baxter acknowledged that the Atlas Lions will not be easy to beat despite the fact they are already guaranteed a spot in the last 16 after beating Namibia and Ivory Coast.

"We know that Morocco were very strong in their game against Ivory Coast [Morocco won 1-0] and are a very experienced team. They'll be a tough opponent, but we feel that we are settling more and more into a good rhythm.

"We believe that we can give them a good game. The players are quite confident and they know the preparations have been going well," he said.

Baxter also confirmed that right back Thamsanqa Mkhize will be available for selection. Mkhize was taken off against Namibia after suffering a slight concussion and was replaced by Ramahlwe Mphahlele.

Midfielder Dean Furman is also available.

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