Bafana desperate to thwart Zimbabwe title hat-trick
DURBAN – Bafana Bafana will be out to end the domination of Zimbabwe in the Cosafa Cup.
The tournament that boasts teams from the southern African region commenced this past weekend with the group stages.
The big guns such as Bafana, Zimbabwe and Zambia will join their counterparts in the quarter-final stage at the weekend.
Bafana are pitted against Botswana on Sunday at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu (3pm).
Bafana selected their Under-23s with a mixture of experienced players to compete in the tournament that they have managed to lift on four occasions in the past.
The South Africans were crowned champions in 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2016. Should they reign supreme, Bafana will move into second place on the list of the most successful nations in the tournament.
They are currently lying third. Bafana are two titles behind Zimbabwe.
The Warriors have six Cosafa triumphs (2000, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2017 and 2018). Zimbabwe are the defending champions and will come out gun blazing to defend what’s theirs.
They have selected a strong team to compete in this year’s edition. They are using this tournament as preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations that will take place later next month in Egypt.
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Bafana will be doing their level best to end the dominance of Zimbabwe, who have won the competition back to back. No one can bet against them claiming their third crown on the trot. With the squad that they have selected, it is possible.
National Under-23 coach David Nontoane is in charge of Bafana. The incumbent, Stuart Baxter, is busy with Afcon preparations.
They have struggled in the Cosafa Cup under Baxter for the past two editions. In 2016 when they emerged as victors, Shakes Mashaba won the tournament with players who were preparing for the Rio Olympics.
The current squad will be looking to emulate that group which went all the way in Botswana when nobody gave them a chance.
Keagan Dolly will be the key for Bafana. He asked to be drafted in to the Cosafa Cup squad to gain some match fitness and form. The skilful left-footer was dealt a major blow last season when he sustained an injury that kept him out of action for a while. He will be using the Cosafa Cup to rediscover his form.@Minenhlecr7