Morocco head coach Walid Regragui says the Bafana Bafana squad being dominated by Mamelodi Sundowns is an advantage they don’t have.
The current 23-man squad in Ivory Coast boasts nine players from the DStv Premiership champions, which have struck fear across the continent over the past few seasons.
While they have dominated domestically, and shown some scintillating football in Africa, winning the African Football League (AFL) but the CAF Champions League has eluded them.
But the consensus across North Africa is that Sundowns have become one of the best teams across the continent, and to an extent, they expect it to transcend to Bafana, based on the questioning that took place in the pre-match press conference.
“I respect your team, your national team, and what I said about Sundowns is that your team has more than seven players, playing for Sundowns,” he said.
“It provides habits for your team, a team that has confidence because on the continent with Sundowns, they won the Super League (AFL), they always play well in the Champions League and that gives confidence.
“But [Bafana] is a different team, different spirit, it’s the same as the last time I said in Johburg when we lost, it’s a different team, different spirit, different competition. It’s only that we need to fight to win this game against South Africa.
“We treat all teams that same, we respect South Africa, with humility of my country, we’ll try our best to qualify for the quarter-final. Inshallah.”
Regragui said Bafana is a team with ‘certainty’ and ‘identity’ in the way the way as well as tactically flexible based on what they saw in the group stage.
“It’s hard to get that at national team level. They play in the CAF Champions League with Sundowns,” he added.
“We have respect for South Africa, they were the first team to beat us after the World Cup. We’re coming in with humility, we respect every team.
“But we have confidence as semi-finalists of the World Cup. We won our group, we have shown we want to win the cup. We’re in the knockouts, it’s good.”
The two sides will meet on Tuesday evening at the Laurent Poukou Stadium in San Pedro at 22h00.