Doc Khumalo bemoans Bafana's 'downward spiral'

Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana legend Doctor Khumalo

Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana legend Doctor Khumalo says the national team's loss to Ivory Coast is further evidence of a downward spiral since 1996.

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Bafana were abysmal in losing 1-0 to the West African giants and were only spared a 2-0 defeat due to a brilliant save in the closing minutes by Ronwen Williams.

The result means Stuart Baxter's men have to get a result against Namibia on Friday to stand a realistic chance of advancing out of Group D of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Khumalo, who won the AFCON in 1996 with Bafana, told Soccer Laduma: "It is such a pity that Bafana Bafana lost their opening match of the 2019 Afcon in Egypt, against Ivory Coast. I wish them everything of the best in their second and very crucial game against Namibia on Friday. I really hope the boys will make it past the group stages and see what happens in the knockout stages.

"When you analyse Bafana Bafana's performances in this tournament since 1996, you'll realise that we've been on a sort of a downward spiral. We won it in 1996, lost in the final two years later and we started deteriorating from being eliminated in the group stages and then we failed to reach the group stages. As if that wasn't enough, we started not qualifying at all and that speaks volumes about our performances over the years.

"This is the 10th Afcon edition that we are taking part in and have reached two cup finals, as mentioned earlier, when we won it in 1996 against Tunisia and when we were runners-up in 1998 against Egypt, in Burkina Faso.

"That's not a bad record if you are not South African but, because we don't rest on our laurels and always go for bigger things, that statistic is worrying. We have not made it past the group stages four times and I really hope that we will change that this year by progressing past the group stages and challenging for the honours.

"Having said that, I should say that as much as we don't have many overseas-based players plying their trade in big leagues, we still expect our national team to do better. If you cast your mind back to 1996, you will remember that we only had a handful of players in that squad who were based overseas, with the rest of the team comprised of locally-based players."

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