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Africa Cup of Nations

Q&A: Young Bafana's Hamilton Khohlakala reveals Afcon 2019 surprise packages

2:08 am AEST 10/7/19
Egypt v South Africa Thembinkosi Lorch and Mohamed El-Shenawy - July 2019
Young Bafana Academy player Hamilton Khohlakala reflects on Bafana's shock win over Egypt and the Afcon thus far

In the round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, the South African national team surprised us all.

After a weak first round, they barely got into the next round.

There, the tournament favourites Egypt were waiting. Bafana defeated the favourites 1-0.

We talked to Hamilton Khohlakala, 16, of the Young Bafana Soccer Academy about this sensational win.

Hamilton, did you imagine that South Africa had a chance against Salah and Co.?

No, I definitely assumed a defeat. Egypt won all the games in the group stage and played on their home ground. South Africa only survived the group with luck. The expectations were clear.

What was the key to the end?

The South Africans played and worked together as a team. They fought hard and focused on their strengths. We have a big and strong centre forward with Lebo Mothiba who has kept balls well. At his side were fast wingers. We ran the ball well. The victory was earned in the end.

Can you highlight someone special?

Percy Tau has created a lot of danger. He made a strong game. In addition, one must praise left-back Sifiso Hlanti. He played a great match against the superstar Mohamed Salah and gave him no space.

Why has South Africa struggled so hard in the group stage?

South Africa lacked the unconditional will to win. The team showed no aggression and no self-confidence. That could now be different after the surprising victory against Egypt.

In the quarterfinals, Nigeria is waiting.

Yes, this will again be a very difficult game in which we are again clear outsiders. But if we play as we did in the last game and remember our strengths, then we can win this match as well.

Your guess?

2-1 for South Africa.

Who are your tournament favourites?

Senegal with Sadio Mané is certainly one of the best nations in Africa. In addition, Algeria have good chances to reach the final.

Who, in your opinion, is the biggest surprise in the tournament?

It is a sensation that South Africa has come this far. Even more surprising is probably Madagascar. They won all their group games and threw Congo out of the tournament. Nobody could have expected that.

What would you do if South Africa won the title this year?

I would definitely celebrate a lot. We have not won anything for so long.

Thank you, Hamilton!