Bafana ready for Afcon opener

SA gets its Afcon campaign underway tonight when it takes on Algeria in Equatorial Guinea.

FILE. SA gets its Afcon campaign underway tonight when it takes on Algeria in Equatorial Guinea. Picture: Safa.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey has praised Shakes Mashaba and the self-belief he's instilled in his players.

South Africa gets its African Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign underway tonight, when they take on the continent's one number team, Algeria, in their opening group C match in Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea.

The team is looking to replicate the success of 1996, the only time it won the continental showpiece.

Tovey says Bafana need to believe they can go all the way.

"South Africa always had talent. I think where it's gone wrong is sometimes we've beaten ourselves from a mental perspective; sometimes we've thought we're too good, sometimes we've underestimated ourselves. The confidence hasn't been there to go out and perform and we inhibit ourselves and don't give our best."

He says says a win tonight will give an added boost to the team's already high morale.

"An opening win is vital"

The former skipper led South Africa to glory in 1996.

It remains the only Afcon success for Bafana who memorably beat Tunisia at the old FNB Stadium 19 years ago.

Tovey says Mashaba's men must start well."

"It's going to be critical, that first game, because you don't want to be left behind so early in the competition."

Bafana will also come up against Ghana and Senegal in what's being described as the tournament's 'group of death'.

Tonight's match kicks off at 9pm.