While issues surrounding Bafana Bafana’s preparations ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nationshave raised a few eyebrows, midfielder Dean Furman remains optimistic.
Bafana were dealt a major blow on Wednesday with news that Angola had pulled out of their warm-up game against Bafana at the eleventh hour.
This meant that Stuart Baxter and his troops had just a solitary game against Ghana - which they played out to a goalless draw - to prepare themselves for the continental showpiece.
Nonetheless, Furman who is expected to be the heartbeat of Bafana’s midfield at the tournament suggests that there were ample positives to take out of the Ghana game that will prove helpful as they prepare for their Afcon opener against Ivory Coast.
“We started the game very well against Ghana, playing against a top, top side in Africa with some top players who are playing in the best leagues in the world,” Furman was quoted as saying by IOL.
“There were a lot of positives, but there was also a lot of things to work on,” he added.
Bafana recently arrived in Egypt after camping in Dubai as they looked to acclimatise to the conditions they would face in North Africa, and Furman has lauded that decision.
“It’s very good to be at our destination. We’ve been waiting to be here for a long time. The pre-camp has been very good,” Furman said.
“Going to Dubai was good for us because of the heat factor. We really got used to the heat, and the good thing is that it is 10 degrees cooler here, so hopefully, that issue can be put on one side because we are now used to it. We’ve acclimatised,” the SuperSport United star remarked.
Furthermore, with expectations high heading into the tournament, Furman suggests that Bafana have a point to prove to the rest of the continent.
“We hope that we can show on the pitch that we are a top team to be reckoned with in the continent, we have confidence that we can go out there and show that.
“We have to apply what we have learned at training and hopefully that’s evident in our first game against Ivory Coast.
“We believe! This is a strong team coming into the tournament with a lot of confidence based on our qualification campaign where we went undefeated.
“Certainly, our victory away against Nigeria, our performance against them at home and our crucial victory against Libya away gives us a lot to be confident about.
"The first target is to get out of the group, thereafter it’s a knockout competition and anything is possible. But we have to get out of the group which is our first target. We are not looking beyond that at the moment.
South Africa have been drawn into Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off on June 21 in Egypt.
Bafana will begin their Afcon campaign against Ivory Coast in Cairo, before meeting Namibia and Morocco as they look to reach the knockout stages.