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2 Feb

Shaun Bartlett Backs Bafana to Emulate 1996!

On Wednesday, January 31st, I had the honour of conversing with football legend Shaun Bartlett at the SA20 League match held at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

As Bartlett immersed himself in the intense clash between Joburg Super Kings and Sunrisers Eastern Cape, we delved into the historic moment from the previous night. Bafana Bafana’s stunning 2-0 victory over Africa Cup of Nations favorites Morocco reverberated across the continent, propelling them into the quarter-final round of the ongoing tournament in Ivory Coast.

Bartlett, a seasoned participant in this prestigious continental event, having been part of the triumphant Bafana team that clinched the AFCON title in 1996 and secured consecutive FIFA World Cup qualifications in 1998 and 2002, believes that the current squad possesses the potential to replicate the achievements of his era.

‘We surprised a lot of people including Morocco.’ – Bafana Bafana legend, Shaun Bartlett 

“The team has been getting better and better game by game. We surprised a lot of people including Morocco – the number one country on the African continent and they got to the semi-final round of the World Cup last time out,” explained Bartlett.

“But I think this tournament has been a tournament of surprises and I think there is more to come. I strongly believe that we can go all the way, we increase our performances and our capacity and players obviously need the confidence. I think Hugo Broos has done tremendously well with the consistency of choosing the players, so hopefully we can go on and emulate 1996.”

While Bafana Bafana eliminated one of the tournament’s major contenders, Bartlett believes that being labeled as underdogs worked to the national team’s advantage.

“In my opinion, being an underdog is the best tag to have. Same like in 1996, nobody gave us a chance and against all odds we won it and I think that’s going to be the same with the current Bafana Bafana. You know, let the opponent have the tag or the superpower, whatever you want to call it and we just keep doing our business quietly and bring that trophy home,” he concluded.

As the South African football community gears up to back to the national team, Bafana Bafana will be putting their final touches together ahead of their clash against Cape Verde on Saturday, February 3rd at 22h00 CAT.

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