South Africa progressed to the semi-final of the competition after a tense penalty shootout win over Cape Verde on Saturday night.
They will now face Nigeria in the semi-final on Wednesday, 7 February at 22:00. Nigeria are the same nation that knocked Bafana out of the semi-final the last time SA qualified for the last four in 2000.
The 1996 AFCON-winning goalkeeper, now serving as an assistant coach at SuperSport United, has been left impressed with how the Bafana squad has performed in Ivory Coast.
“I am not so much surprised but impressed,” Arendse told FARPost.
“We had a bit of shaking in the first game. What was good to see was how we grew with the tournament. The way the guys play, you can see the guys are playing like a team. From the 4-0 win to the 0-0 draw to beating Morocco. You can see there is cohesion and they are playing more like a team.
“What was very impressive was their defensive performances. It’s very important that if you want to win tournaments you have to keep as many clean sheets as possible. The back four along with Ronwen has been doing that. So that’s a big positive for the team at the moment,” he said.
“Why shouldn’t we repeat that feat of 96? The team is working very hard at the Nations Cup. There is no doubt about that, you can see it.
“Hugo Broos is doing very good things with the team. When I watch the team play, if we take the ability and put it to one side for a second. I am seeing an attitude, a positive attitude on the field.
“I am seeing players who are never giving up on the field. That for me is what counts. That’s the kind of thing that is going to help them become successful.
“If you take performances and you take individual quality, we are probably up there with the best in Africa. We have players with flair, we have players who can play and who can direct,” he said.