Cape Town - Former Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba says the national team must stick to the basics and avoid complacency at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in June and July.
South Africa are in Group D at the continental showpiece and they face Morocco, Ivory Coast and Namibia as some tough opponents in their bracket.
Mashaba, who led the team to the 2015 version of the tournament, told KickOff website that tournament football is very competitive as all teams are prepared.
Bafana Bafana went out in the group stages under the experienced mentor that year.
He told the publication: "We need to do the right things and then we will see what happens.
"It will be a good thing if we go into the next round for the country. You know football it's got no favourites because everybody, they have participated to be where they are. It's not by favour or anything you know.
"Well unfortunately then and now and tomorrow is not the same. I mean, people make progress in life. Things change as time goes on in life. Most unfortunately, I don't think there's much we can avoid. All the teams there go prepared.
"This thing of saying complacency and all that to me doesn't work because everybody that is at this level, they know what they want to achieve. That's the whole thing that makes it different from my days."
Mashaba warns that the team must never repeat the mistake of thinking the qualifiers are the same as the actual tournament.
"This is the problem that we used to encounter. Like I say, yesterday and today football is not the same."
Bafana Bafana will kick-off the tournament against powerhouses Ivory Coast on Monday, June 24, 2019.
Four days later, Stuart Baxter's charges take on Namibia (Friday, June 28) and round off the group stages with a tricky encounter against Morocco on Monday, July 1.
Should South Africa progress to the knockout stages they would take part in the Round of 16 beginning on July 5, with the quarter-finals on July 10/11, the semi-finals on July 14 and the final taking place on July 19.