DURBAN – Bafana Bafana assistant coach Helman Mkhalele named a youthful squad to play in the Cosafa Cup, which kicks off later this month.
Mkhalele is set to oversee the squad with first-team coach Hugo Broos still in his homeland of Belgium as he waits to receive his second Covid-19 vaccine jab.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Mkhalele reiterated that the games will be used as preparation for the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers, though they will also be aiming to win the tournament.
The Cosafa Cup – a tournament utilised by Southern African nations for developmental purposes kicks off on July 7 in Gqberha. The tournament this year will also feature Senegal as a guest participant.
As was expected, the Bafana squad for the Cosafa Cup is devoid of senior Bafana Bafana players bar Orlando Pirates midfielder Vincent Pule (29).
Golden Arrows goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana was rewarded for his good form in the DStv Premiership last season and has been called up to the squad. It remains to be seen if he or Kaizer Chiefs’ Bruce Bvuma will be chosen to start in the games.
The Bafana Bafana attack is set to be spearheaded by the young duo consisting of Maritzburg United’s Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Tshegofatso Mabasa of Orlando Pirates.
Bafana has been drawn into a group that also features Lesotho, eSwatini and Botswana.
Kaizer Chiefs players have been named in the squad, though the squad will have to be amended if the Soweto giants reach the Caf Champions League final. Chiefs have a 1-0 advantage over Wydad AC going into the second leg of their semi-final tie which will be played at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Mkhalele reiterated that there are players on standby if Chiefs do progress to the final of Africa’s premier club competition.
Goalkeepers: Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs FC), Sifiso Mlungwana (Golden Arrows FC)
Defenders: Rushine De Reuck (Mamelodi Sundowns FC), Denwin Farmer (Baroka FC), Siyabonga Ngezana (Kaizer Chiefs FC), Njabulo Ngcobo (Moroka Swallows FC), Keenan Phillips (Supersport United FC), Mashweu Mphahlele (Baroka FC), Sifiso Ngobeni (Bloemfontein Celtic FC), Bongani Sam (Orlando Pirates FC)
Midfielders: Sphelele Mkhulise (Mamelodi Sundowns FC), Ethan Brooks (TS Galaxy FC), Siyethemba Sithebe (AmaZulu FC), Kgaogelo Sekgota (Moroka Swallows FC), Tiklas Thutlwa (Black Leopards FC), Happy Mashiane (Kaizer Chiefs FC), Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates FC), Goodman Mosele (Baroka FC)
Strikers: Tshegofatso Mabasa (Orlando Pirates FC), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Maritzburg United FC)