Siphiwe Tshabalala says hosts South Africa can look forward to the second round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ if they defeat Uruguay in Pretoria on Wednesday. Former world champions Uruguay and France also have one point after the first series of Group A matches following their goalless draw in Cape Town.
The diminutive midfielder scored the first goal of the 2010 tournament on Friday as Bafana Bafana held Mexico 1-1 at Soccer City in Johnannesburg and is now the talk of a football-obsessed nation, just 12 months after battling to make the starting line-up at Kaizer Chiefs, the best supported football club in the country.
"A win against Uruguay will virtually seal our passage into the second round and make the nation even prouder," said Tshabalala. "Uruguay will be in trouble if we carry on where we left off against the Mexicans."
The midfielder credited coach Carlos Alberto Parreira for his remarkable turnaround in fortunes, saying the Brazilian grandfather had given him confidence. "My form has improved so much since the coach returned last November and took us to Brazil and Germany for training camps. My fitness has never been greater, nor my self belief."
Centreback Bongani Khumalo, who endured a torrid first 45 minutes against a livewire Mexican attack on Friday, said the thought of facing star Uruguay striker Diego Forlan was inspiring rather than haunting him.
"Diego is a world-class footballer, but the whole point of playing in this tournament is to test yourself against the best," explained the defender who plays for national champions SuperSport United. The nerves we suffered against Mexico because of the special occasion have settled and there is no fear of Forlan nor Uruguay."