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Afcon 2023: South Africa’s Percy Tau and Ronwen Williams ready for “difficult” tournament

South Africa forward Percy Tau and team captain Ronwen Williams have been speaking to the media ahead of their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Cote d’Ivoire.

The 1996 champions face fellow former title-holders Tunisia, and Mali and Namibia in Group E in Korhogo, the northernmost of five host cities.

Ahead of the tourney, the two top stars of South Africa spoke to the media at their training base in Stellenbosch.

“It is extremely difficult for us to satisfy the public – we are under immense pressure,” Tau said.

“We aim to be among the best teams in Africa, but it just has not happened for some time. Supporters were furious with us for not even reaching the last Cup of Nations in Cameroon two years ago.

“They are demanding that we bring the trophy back from the Ivory Coast. That is the goal of the players too, but it is going to be extremely difficult.

“Getting past the first round will be tough enough, then teams face four knockout matches to win the competition.”

We must be realistic

Captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams echoed the views of Tau, whose dribbling skills regularly unlock even the tightest club and national team defences across Africa.

“While needing to aim high, we must also be realistic. We have not been regular Cup of Nations qualifiers for a long time,” said Williams.

“The intensity of the tournament is going to be a real challenge. Every three or four days you are facing top-quality opponents.

“It can drain you mentally and physically. Experience is also crucial; unfortunately, only three survivors from the squad competed at the 2019 tournament.”

Bafana Bafana kickstart their campaign against Mali on Tuesday.

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