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JOHANNESBURG, Jan 16 (Reuters) - South Africa's footballers have agreed to forego bonus payments at the African Nations Cup finals until the knockout stage of the tournament, coach Gordon Igesund said on Wednesday.
"The players themselves decided they will only accept a bonus payment if they get to the quarter-finals and again if they reach the final. There is no money in the first round and nothing for the semi-final," he said.
"I'm thrilled with because it shows a commitment to do well," added Igesund, who has spent the week before Saturday's kickoff seeking to change a negative sentiment across the host nation over the team's chances at the championship.
Poor results in the warmup matches have left South Africa outside the list of favourites although Saturday's opening game at the cavernous Soccer City, which holds just over 90,000 people, has been sold out.
South Africa play the Cape Verde Islands in the first match of the 16-team, three-week tournament. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by John Mehaffey; Editing by John Mehaffey)