Philemon Masinga has put his money on Bernard Parker to have a good run during the 2013 Afcon. Masinga told Goal.com that Parker's experience and form will take the hosting country to at least the next round.
“I think if there is one player that I am confident enough on to do well is Parker. The guy is in great form and he has shown that even at his club,” said Masinga.
Masinga scored one of his most important goals for Bafana against the Republic of Congo which saw Bafana qualifying for the 1998 Fifa World Cup in France, and wants Parker to also succeed with scoring milestone goals for South Africa. However Masinga feels that much will also depend on the midfield players service to him.
“If he can get good supply, I am sure he will do wonders with the ball. Communication will be the key for this team to succeed. The midfielders need to trust our strikers enough for them to pass the ball through,” he said.
Although Benni McCarthy could not make the squad due to an injury, Masinga says his absence will be missed but so long as Parker is there, he should cover (Benni's position) well.
“Although Parker cannot meet McCarthy‘s experience, I think he is the best that we have at the moment following McCarthy," said Masinga.“My only prayer is for Bafana to reach the second round. Honestly speaking it will be a disgrace if we were to be knocked out in the first round,” added Masinga.
South Africa should reach the second round, but there are fears since the team failed to do so in their previous two Nations Cup, and the 2010 World Cup.
Masinga also said that the players will have to be mentally fit, coming into this tournament.
“There is lot of pressure, as you know that when we hosted in 1996, we won the tournament and that on its own creates anxiety on the players. My advice to them would be to relax, but not too much as they must remember that they are representing the nation and everyone is expecting good results from them,” he said.
Masinga also urges the nation to support the team no matter what happens. 'Sometimes it is easy to speak when you are not in that field of play, and it is only the players who feel the heat inside. I would really like to urge the South African supporters to support the team 100% as the players need it," said Masinga.