South Africa international Kagisho Dikgacoi said he is hoping his nation can start afresh when they meet Senegal in a friendly next week.
The Crystal Palace midfielder – named in the Championship Team of the Week – is expected to be selected in the squad to face Senegal at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium when manager Pitso Mosimane announces it on Thursday.
And after the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, Dikgacoi believes it is now time to look to the future.
“It’s going to be a tough game but we know it’s a good chance to prove ourselves against a big team,” he told KickOff.com.
“Pressure has been on us and obviously the manager as well and that’s understandable. But it’s not as if we don’t want to put in effort or lose – we obviously want to do well for our country and perform to the best of our ability.”
“It’s just a matter of scoring more goals and winning games so this is a great chance to make a new start. We need to build up some momentum to go into the World Cup qualifiers in June and the to the 2013 AFCON at home.”
Dikgacoi scored his second goal of the season for Palace in their 4-0 win over Watford on Saturday, earning him selection in the league’s best XI of the week.
He last played for South Africa in the 1-1 draw against Ivory Coast in November, and he said he wants to help Mosimane’s side maintain an unbeaten home record that stretches back to the 1-0 defeat against USA in November 2010.
“One thing we are proud of is our record at home and we want to keep that going,” he said.
“Senegal have got lots of players from European teams but we showed against Ivory Coast we can compete against the best. Now we have to forget about what has happened before and focus on the future.”