South Africa midfielder Steven Pienaar believes the host nation can reach the FIFA World Cup™ quarter-finals at the least.
Bafana Bafana kick off their campaign against Mexico on 11 June before further group games against Uruguay and France. All three teams are ranked higher than South Africa by FIFA, but Everton man Pienaar is confident the hosts can upset the odds.
"I rate our chances of doing well in the tournament very high. In fact I am very confident that we will go further than the second round," he said in Johannesburg today. We are definitely ready to go because the confidence is there, the spirit is there and I believe we will do well.
"The team has been doing well and I have been following their progress since they started with the training camps - Durban, Brazil and Germany - because I am part and parcel of the team even though I was not there. As for me, I am hopeful that I will get a chance to play against Colombia."
We are definitely ready to go because the confidence is there, the spirit is there and I believe we will do well
Pienaar was left on the bench in South Africa's 1-1 draw with Bulgaria on Monday. They take on Colombia on another friendly tomorrow in a warm-up for their tournament opener against Mexico.
"As an individual I have always believed in myself, and I hope in the national team I will carry on the way I finished the season at my club," he added. "I know a few players of Colombia and it's going to be a big test for us, but I think the closer we get to the World Cup the better we play the likes of Colombia.
"They are very strong and have good players, and also the kind of football they play is South American - more like the Mexican way."So come 11 June we will be prepared, and we will play our kind of football so we no so worried about Mexico at the moment."
South Africa play another friendly against Guatemala next Monday.