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Fri Apr 18 07:48:25 SAST 2014

Competition rife for Bafana places, says Khumalo

TEAMtalk Media | 06 January, 2013 10:070 Comments
Bafana Bafana training session
Siboniso Gaxa and Bongani Khumalo (R) during a Bafana Bafana training session at Athlone Stadium on January 03, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa
Image by: Grant Pitcher / Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana defender Bongani Khumalo says competition for places in the starting XI is rife as South Africa prepare to host the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

Gordon Igesund's men are currently in training ahead of the sub-Saharan spectacular, which kicks off on January 19, with a friendly against Norway next up for the side on Tuesday.

Khumalo, who plies his trade with Greek side PAOK, says the 23 men called up for international duty are all vying for a coveted starting role for when they raise the AFCON curtain against Group A rivals Cape Verde in two week's time.

"Competition is a healthy thing as the coach mentioned the numbers have gone down, from 33 to 23, and now its about making the 11," the centre-back said while on camp with his Bafana team-mates.

"After the first session the guys are looking good and working hard."

The last time the Boys were crowned African kings was in 1996, when also on home soil, and Khumalo is hoping this year can again belong to the famous green and gold.

"That (the title winning campaign) has been mentioned over and over again, and it was a great moment for South African football," he added.

"But now as hosts for 2013 its important that we create new memories. It was great part of our history, but as players we need to create our own memories. We have a squad of players we believed in."

Reminiscing some more on that achievement, he said: "I believe I was alive, probably still playing in the backyard, I started at Arcadia Sheppards in 1998, so I think I was playing at school at first break, at second break, I remember it as a special time.

"I'm part of a new generation of players there's a lot of players with experience from the World Cup. There's a good spirit, we have all been through a lot together."

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Competition rife for Bafana places, says Khumalo

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