Thulani Hlatshwayo: Bafana Bafana will reach Afcon round of 16

The scoring defender says Bafana have to beat the best in order to reach the knockout stages of the continental tournament

Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo says they have a chance to reach the knockout stages of the 2019 Caf African Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.

“Many might say that we have to draw against Ivory Coast and Morocco and beat Namibia. But if you want to be the best, you must beat the best,” Hlatshwayo said to Sport24.

“With the group that we have, I’m confident that we will be able to advance to the next stage of the tournament. Even though SAFA told coach Stuart (Baxter) that he doesn’t have a mandate, for us it’s about truly discovering our identity as a team and developing from there,” he added.

“Gavin Hunt and Stuart are two different types of coaches, but they always want the best out of a player and they push you to your limit,” he added.

“Coach Gav is more old-school and Stuart is more of a modern type of coach. I’m fortunate to be playing for both the coaches and they communicate a lot with me and call me Tyson,” he continued.

The former Ajax Cape Town player stated that they are leaders in the Bafana team and they make his job easy.

“When previous Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba was at the helm, the captaincy was rotated. Sometimes Dean Furman and Itumeleng Khune would be the captain and other times I would wear the captain’s armband," he reacted.

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“Itu (Itumeleng Khune) was the one who was more experienced than us and he would lead the side most of the time. We have a lot of captains in the team from their respective club sides, which makes my job easier,” he concluded.

South Africa have been drawn into Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off on June 21 in Egypt.

Bafana will begin their Afcon campaign against Ivory Coast in Cairo, before meeting Namibia and Morocco as they look to reach the knockout stages.