Bafana Bafana have announced a 20-man squad for the 2017 Cosafa Cup, which will take place in Rustenburg between 25 June and 9 July.
Head coach Stuart Baxter has gone for relatively new personnel, which includes players from the South African Under-20 men’s national team (Amajita) – captain Tercious Malepe, Thendo Mukumela, Sandile Mthethwa, Thabo Cele, Sibongakonke Mbatha and Liam Jordan.
Four of the players in the team ply their trade overseas – Cele, Jordan (both Portugal); Lebogang Phiri (France) and Lehlohonolo Masalesa (Greece).
Only three players, Lorenzo Gordinho, Phiri and Aubrey Ngoma, were part of the squad that faced against Nigeria (2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier) and Zambia (international friendly) earlier this month.
South Africa have a bye in the first round and will join the competition in the quarter-finals, when they face the winner of Group A on Sunday, 2 July at Royal Bafokeng Stadium. Kickoff is at 17h00.
Tanzania, Malawi, Mauritius and Angola are all in Group A.
A win for Bafana Bafana will see them facing the winners of the Botswana vs Zambia encounter on Wednesday, 5 July – where victory will qualify them for the final, which will take place on Sunday, 9 July at Royal Bafokeng Stadium. Kickoff is at 15h00.
The losers in the quarter-finals drop into the Plate competition.
South Africa have won this competition on four occasions – 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2016.
Bafana Bafana will hold their training camp in Rustenburg, starting on Friday, 23 June. Baxter will join the squad on Monday, 26 June after his club commitments with Supersport United where he is preparing the team for the 2017 Nedbank Cup final against Orlando Pirates, which takes place on Saturday in Durban.
During his absence, assistant coaches Thabo Senong and Molefi Ntseki will lead the team.
Bafana Cosafa Cup Squad
Goalkeepers: Darren Johnson, Bruce Bvuma, Boalefa Pule.
Defenders: Thendo Mukumela, Sandile Mthethwa, Mothobi Mvala, Mario Booysen, Tercious Malepe, Innocent Maela, Lorenzo Gordinho.
Midfielders: Thabo Cele, Lebogang Maboe, Sibongakonke Mbatha, Nduduzo Sibiya, Mandla Masango, Lehlohonolo Masalesa, Lebogang Phiri, Aubrey Ngoma.
Strikers: Liam Jordan, Judas Moseamedi.