The South African squad will have a final training session on Saturday before they disperse for the New Year, while coach Gordon Igesund announces his final 23-man squad for the tournament on Sunday.
One of those who will be anxious over his selection is Platinum Stars winger Thuso Phala, who must be considered a fringe player at this stage. But he has managed to enjoy the experience.
“All the players are excited at the challenge facing us of making the final team. For me, getting this far and being part of the training camp is an achievement on its own,” Phala says. “It would be an honour and a dream come true to be selected for the tournament, so I just need to continue working hard. All players are giving 100 percent at training because they want to be selected.”
One man almost certain to be selected is in-form Moroka Swallows midfielder Lerato Chabangu, who has featured heavily in the starting XIs of the national side since Igesund took over in July.
“The mood in the camp is very high; they all want to be part of this tournament,” Chabangu says. “Unfortunately some players will not be selected. Most players are eager to be part of this exercise of playing in this prestigious tournament. We will be hosting the Nations Cup for the second time in our history, and who knows maybe we might make history and win it again.”
Three players have already been withdrawn from the squad through injury – Benni McCarthy, Erick Mathoho and Ayanda Patosi.