South Africa coach Gordon Igesund says his men are not getting ahead of themselves despite leading Group A at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The host nation are undefeated so far in the tournament with a win and a draw from their opening two games, meaning a single point from Sunday’s match with Morocco will be enough to qualify for the knockout stages.
But despite their strong position, Igesund insisted his side must perform if they want to get anything tangible out of the tournament.
“We haven’t achieved anything yet. We haven’t conceded a goal, which is fantastic. We’ve been getting better as we go along and we’ve won our first game in the AFCON, so it’s nice,” Igesund said.
“It’s very exciting, but we do know that we’ve got a big job to do on Sunday, and after that game, we’ll know where we are. We need to know that we haven’t done the job yet.”
South Africa captain Bongani Khumalo echoed the thoughts of his coach, saying while his team have been good so far it will count for nothing if they cannot wrap up qualification against Morocco.
“We all know that games are different. Obviously, looking back, looking at two different results (so far) it looks like two different teams. But at the end of the day, we’re still one squad, one team,” Khumalo said.
“We know what we have to do. Our job is obviously to go out there tomorrow and do well and make sure we qualify. We’ve worked very hard to put ourselves in a very good position in terms of which face we show and the team that you talk about.
“I always believe you can always improve and always do better and that’s what we’re going to do tomorrow.”
Morocco have been disappointing so far in the tournament with a dour 0-0 draw with Angola followed by a 1-1 draw with Cape Verde.
The ever-cautious Igesund refused to right off Rachid Taoussi’s side, pointing to their strong group of players as reason to be wary ahead of their encounter.
“First of all, I think that we don’t have to shy away from the fact that Morocco is a good footballing country,” Igesund said.
“A lot of their players, as you all know, play for Liverpool, Galatasaray, Florence and so on and so forth, so they’ve got a good team.
“But I’m expecting them, and I’m actually hoping that they come at us tomorrow because if they do that it’s going to be a very open game.”