Afcon: Kamohelo Mokotjo - Underdog status will benefit Bafana Bafana

Bafana Bafana, Kamohelo Mokotjo
Bafana might have their work cut out in Group D, but the English-based star remains confident that the national team will surprise many in Egypt

When it was first announced that South Africa would be grouped alongside continental giants Ivory Coast and Morocco in their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) group, many fans were understandably worried.

However, with Bafana Bafana likely to be seen as underdogs against two sides significantly higher than them in the Fifa World Rankings, not everyone is as pessimistic.

Bafana star Kamohelo Mokotjo is one of South African football’s brightest exports in recent times having previously set the Dutch Eredivisie and now English Championship alight, and he is quietly confident that if he makes head coach Stuart Baxter’s final squad, he could be a key figure in helping Bafana do well at the tournament. 

“I’ve been waiting for my opportunity, and not just been waiting and hoping that, by luck, I get a chance. But I’ve been working hard to be where I am right now,” Mokotjo was quoted as saying by Daily Sun.

The 28-year-old midfielder, who plays for Brentford in England’s second tier is part of Baxter’s preliminary squad who are currently in camp preparing for the continental showpiece.

“But every camp is different, every game is different. My goal now is to get myself in the team. If I do, my dream will be to get the country as far as possible in the tournament. I honestly believe that we can,” Mokotjo explained.

“Once all the preparation comes together in a week or so everyone will be speaking confidently going into the first match,” he said.

Furthermore, Mokotjo hints that this could potentially be his final opportunity to feature at the Afcon.  

“Most of us are going to the Afcon for the first time and might be our last time,” he continued.

“We fancy our chances. If we are undermined that would be to our advantage because we know how well we can play,” Mokotjo added.

“We are not going into the tournament as underdogs, but if we are looked at as underdogs then that would be an advantage to us,” he concluded.

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Mokotjo's 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.