Goal.com spoke exclusively with former Bafana Bafana midfielder Doctor Khumalo, who shared his thoughts on South Africa's progression to the quarterfinalsGoal.com: Doc, let’s start this interview with your impressions about Bafana’s performance last night.
Khumalo: First, congratulations to the boys. It was all up to themselves to make the country proud and again because they had the 12th player the entire game. The character they showed to get that second goal was great. Credit to our boys!
Goal.com: What should the coach be telling the players now that the first goal has been achieved and the team is into the quarterfinals?
Khumalo: The “now” part is important. They shouldn’t be thinking about the semifinals, but they should be focusing on the quarterfinals, because that is where they are right now. For Bafana to reach the semifinals, they need to win their quarterfinal match and that is why I am saying the “now” part is very important.
Goal.com: Let’s talk about the level of motivation in the current Bafana squad. Do you think that they are motivated enough to play against, possibly, Mali or the Democratic Republic of Congo in the next match?
Khumalo: Motivation should not be an issue at the moment. I mean, the moment a player is selected to represent the country, that is where the player should get the motivation.
Goal.com: What do you think of the creativity that Bafana have in the middle of the park? Is it anything compared to what you guys had, especially during the 1996 Afcon tournament?
Khumalo: Look, we played in a different era and the creativity in modern football comes from any position not only in the midfield. I mean, it can start with the goalkeeper, to the defence and midfield up to the strikers. You can now have your creative player at right back, modern football allows that. I believe players that are selected, are creative enough to help the team win.
Goal.com: We cannot conclude this interview without talking about Itumeleng Khune’s performance last night, those saves that kept Bafana in the game.
Khumalo: Look, that is what I call an international goalkeeper, but those saves and good performances don’t come just like that. It shows that he has been doing well in the training sessions. What a player does in the practice sessions is exactly what he will be doing come match day. Khune has been doing well under our goalkeeper coach (Rainer Dinkelacker). His performance has justified the amount of hard work he put in training.