Bafana Bafana striker Lebo Mothiba has agreed with Ivory Coast media that they are capable of surprising the giants of Africa.
Mothiba, 27, was present at the pre-match press conference fielding and answering questions in French to local media, where he’s a clear fan favourite due to his club affiliation with Ligue 1 side Strasbourg – a popular league in the country.
While the burly striker admitted the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations hosts are packed with quality, he’s confident they can put up a brave display at the sold-out arena tonight where ASEC Mimosas play their club football.
“We all know Ivory Coast is a big team with very good players, they all play in Europe, so it will be a very good game for us, a good test for us, because, as the coach said, Ivory Coast are a candidate to win the AFCON,” Mothiba said.
“It’s a very good test for us to see where we are and what we need to improve, I can’t wait for [the game].”
Ivorian journalists brought up the AFCON performances of Bafana where Mothiba was part of the squad four years ago in Egypt, where they lost 1-0 to the West Africans but advanced to the last-16 and dumped the Pharaohs out in a historic clash in Cairo.
“I remember the game in AFCON 2019, it was a tough game where they scored at the end, we can learn from that and improve and we’ll do our utmost [best to win],” he added.
“We have good players, we technically gifted players, so we’re good but we need to keep trying to improve in other areas as well – as you said, we took out Egypt, so we can accomplish great things if we stay focused, give our all, we can achieve, we have a lot of quality in our squad.”
The match kicks off this evening at Le Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny at 21h00.