Burgeoning young Bafana talent on show in Gqeberha

HELMAN Mkhalele has an exciting squad to play with in the upcoming Cosafa Cup. BackpagePix

HELMAN Mkhalele has an exciting squad to play with in the upcoming Cosafa Cup. BackpagePix

Published Jun 18, 2024



FOR the first time in many seasons, a diverse group of incredibly skilled individuals in the Bafana Bafana squad will play in the Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup, which will run from June 26 to July 7 in Gqeberha.

Here are some players who could provide the thrust of Bafana's challenge, and who are likely to attract a fair degree of interest during the tournament.

RELEBOHILE Mofokeng of Orlando Pirates. BackpagePix

Relebohile Mofokeng

From the time the 19-year-old Mofokeng stepped up in the Nedbank Cup final to score the winning goal in Orlando Pirates' come-from-behind victory over Mamelodi Sundowns, he alerted the country to his burgeoning talent.

His rise has been nothing short of phenomenal. He made his first team debut for the Sea Robbers just months after making his first appearance in the club’s Diski Challenge team.

The Sharpeville-born forward is a product of the Safa-Transnet School of Excellence, where he was scouted by the Buccaneers ahead of the 2022/23 season. He made an immediate impact in the youth and senior ranks for the Soweto giants.

DEVIN Titus of Stellenbosch FC. BackpagePix

Devin Titus

From the time Titus was promoted to the Stellenbosch FC first team in January 2021, he has become a permanent fixture in the club’s Premiership outfit. Now Titus, 24, who plays as a right winger or midfielder, is one of the stand-out players in the domestic arena.

A few weeks ago, he was named in the Nedbank Cup’s Team of the Season, even though Stellies did not reach the final.

He has showcased his scoring prowess by netting goals at crucial times in cup competitions and, on occasions, provided crucial assists across all competitions.

SHANDRE Campbell of Supersport United. BackpagePix

Shandré Campbell

The 18-year-old plays as a left winger for SuperSport United and made his Premiership debut in August 2023 against Richards Bay. He first made headlines after he scored his first two Premiership goals in a 3-1 victory over Orlando Pirates at Peter Mokaba Stadium last December.

After some impressive performances in his maiden Premiership season, he has an exciting future ahead of him and has already been linked with overseas clubs. Belgian outfit Club Brugge have already enquired about the wunderkind.

SIYABONGA Mabena of Mamelodi Sundowns. BackpagePix

Siyabonga Mabena

Mabena, 17, plays as a striker or midfielder and is one of many special talents in the champion Mamelodi Sundowns side.

In September 2023, a then 16-year-old Siyabonga became the league’s youngest scorer in the PSL era after he scored a goal in Sundowns’ 3-1 win over Stellenbosch. In 2022, he joined the Sundowns youth academy from the School of Excellence.

ASENELE Velebayi of Cape Town Spurs. BackpagePix

Asenele Velebayi

The 21-year-old Velebayi plays as a striker or midfielder. Despite playing for Cape Town Spurs in a losing team, Velebayi showed loads of potential as he kept opposition defences busy. He showed touches of dynamism and his speed around the fringes of the opposition’s goalmouth was a strong feature of his play.

Velebayi was the star performer as Spurs defeated Kaizer Chiefs 2-0 in Cape Town in the final game of the season.

In better company, his ability to influence the game and contribute offensively will come through strongly. He is on the shopping list of Stellenbosch FC, Pirates and Chiefs.

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