Furman ready to raise the bar

DEAN FURMAN insists he is ready for the biggest game of his career when South Africa face Mali tomorrow in the last eight of the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Oldham captain, who has played a starring role in his team’s passage into the quarter-finals, has been one of the stand out players of the tournament so far.

Furman, 24, has blossomed at the heart of the South Africa midfield since coming into the side for the second group game against Angola.

And he’s now targeting a place in the last four after revealing he never had a doubt that he would get a chance to shine on the big stage.

"This will definitely be the biggest game in my career," he told the JC. "The game is already sold out and the support has been amazing.

"After missing out on the first game I remained positive and just made sure I was ready if I was called upon by the manager to step in and play my part."

South Africa finished top of Group A after winning one and drawing two of their three group games. And despite Bafana Bafana having managed just one tournament win in the past nine years, Furman is confident his side can see off Mali.

"There is a lot of flair and exciting attacking play but all the teams are very strong and quick and the game is played at a very quick tempo," he said.

"But within the squad there has been a great belief from the outset but we have a very tough game against Mali which we’re fully focused on now."

Last updated: 10:58am, February 1 2013