“There is no success package available out there on the market that we can use,” Kirsten said on Saturday in Johannesburg before the team's departure for a pre-tournament training camp in Amsterdam.
“We've got an experienced group of guys and in these types of events, you need a bit of luck to go your way and some big individual performances.
“I'm confident we can compete; doing the best we can, knowing it's a tough tournament. Even if we don't win, at least we'll give it our best shot.”
With Jacques Kallis unavailable for selection and Graeme Smith injured, it was an opportunity for some of the younger members of the squad to stamp their authority on the game.
South Africa won the Champions Trophy in 1998, but success in major one-day international tournaments has since eluded them.
“I don't do this job to win trophies," he said. "I know I'm measured by that, but I love the work and I love trying to make individuals the best they can be.
“It's about getting things right on a daily basis and that's what I enjoy doing. I take the focus off the result and help the players to be the best they can be. If it ends with the team making more progress than they have before in these tournaments, I'll be happy.”
Warm-up matches against Holland
The Proteas will spend five days in a training camp in Amsterdam and also play the first of their two warm-up matches against Holland on Friday.
It will be the first time the team has been together since the end of March when Pakistan toured South Africa.
“It's always difficult getting together after a break. We faced the same challenges when we went to England last year and we were criticised for our lack of preparation,” said Kirsten, who guided India to the 2011 World Cup title.
“But, in the time we have, we will do our best to get everyone match ready. In this tournament, you have got to be on your game straight away.”
Kirsten said the old adage of peaking at the right time did not work at this tournament, where the top two teams went directly into a semifinal.
“At the Champions Trophy you only have five games to play if you go all the way to the final.”
Kirsten said he was looking forward to his last tournament in charge – with Russell Domingo set to take over the reins – and was aware that at some stage South Africa had to cross the line to win a trophy.
'We'll give it our best shot'
“This is another opportunity to do so. We're mindful of the obstacles but we've broadened the base of our one-day team and we've got individuals who can make key contributions in key situations.
“We'll give it our best shot to deal with the mental component as well because we know we have the skills to compete with best in the world; no doubt about that.”
On his own career, Kirsten said he hoped to still be involved in the game in some capacity and would not be unduly disappointed if they did not come home victorious.
The Proteas play their second warm-up game against Pakistan at the Oval in London on June 3 before their opening match of the Champions Trophy against India in Cardiff on June 6. – Sapa