Goal.com: What is your impression of Gordon Igesund's Bafana team?
Palacios: Every coach has his way of selecting players and we need to respect that as a country. I mean the likes of (Carlos) Parreira, (Joel) Santana and Pitso (Mosimane) had their own criteria and selected the players that they believed can do the job for the country. If you look at Gordon, he prefers South African-based players because there are only 3 or 4 overseas-based players in the team.
Goal.com: Our South African fans have been complaining about the exclusion of Andile Jali in the squad. As a coach who worked with Andile at Orlando Pirates, wouldn’t you like to have Jali in that squad?
Palacios: Obviously, I would have loved to see Andile Jali in the squad. He’s played well together with Oupa Manyisa; he’s very strong and a great player but again every coach believes in certain players and that is what Gordon has done.
Goal.com: As a national team coach how do you bring out the best from the players, especially after the current unconvincing performances of the Bafana team?
Palacios: I had players like Lucas Radebe, Zane Moosa and Fani Madida in the squad and they needed motivation to do their best. A coach also needs to have the personality to be able to control the players, as some play overseas and others in the PSL. The current players have the potential and we need to support them and they need to play to their best ability.
Goal.com: Bafana has failed to score in the last two warm-up matches leading up to the tournament. Is this a worrying factor for Gordon Igesund with the mandate that he needs to take the team to at least the semifinals?
Palacios: No, friendly games are different from official matches. We need to support the players and the coach. When I joined Pirates as a head coach, they were struggling with goals but the team improved. The fans need to give Gordon Igesund and the rest of the team a chance. I also believe that Mphela, Rantie and Parker would definitely do the scoring.
Goal.com: Finally, your honest opinion: How far can Bafana go in the tournament?
Palacios: Bafana still have a chance to progress regardless of the previous results, although our group is not an easy one. We need to believe as a nation that we can reach the final. Actually the mentality should be to reach the final and not the semis or quarterfinals. Nobody believed that Zambia could win in 2012, but they did just that against Ivory Coast.