South Africa revels in Afcon Anticipation ahead of Durban Draw
With the draw for the African Cup of Nations being held in Durban tomorrow, anticipation mounts in the host nation South Africa as eyes turn towards 2013’s continental spectacle
The day of the draw for a major competition is always one of excitement as the group stage lineups are revealed, as fans begin imagining that opening whistle, and as coaches begin preparing for the opposition they face. South Africans are yet to demonstrate a genuine excitement for their tournament in January and February, but with tomorrow’s Durban draw putting the spotlight back on Africa, the Rainbow Nation may be able to look beyond Bafana Bafana’s recent form and get behind the boys ahead of Africa’s greatest spectacle.
Influential former-centre back Neil Tovey, who captained South Africa to Afcon glory in 1996, reckons that pessimism across the country disguises the fact that the national team are actually in fairly good shape heading into the competition. Banking on home support to spur the players on, Tovey suggested that the atmosphere of 2010 could be replicated – seeing South Africa once again overcome supposedly superior opposition through the energy and fervour of community.
Writing for South Africa, Ian Malcolm quotes another former Bafana defender, David Nyathi, arguing that, regardless of the draw, South Africa can be a match for any of their Afcon opposition. Home support is once again cited as a major factor, and Nyathi maintains that fans of the Rainbow Nation should back their boys to the hilt regardless of who they find themselves drawn with.
With many of Africa’s giants featured in the draw, the potential for exciting contests is mouth-watering. While South Africans are encouraged to shed their pessimism, Nigerian fans will be relishing a return to Africa’s high table – and the prospect of ties with the likes of Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, as well as holders, Zambia.
Ed Dove
South Africa revels in Afcon Anticipation ahead of Durban Draw
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