Riyaad Norodien celebrates with Thabo Cele after scoring against Botswana in the Cosafa Cup Plate semi-final. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana will be without attacking central midfielder Cole Alexander when they take on Namibia in Friday's Cosafa Cup Plate final at Moruleng Stadium (kick-off 5pm), Safa confirmed yesterday.

The midfielder had to quickly reunite with his team, SuperSport United, who will participating in an important CAF Confederation Cup fixture against CF Mounana in Atteridgeville on Saturday (kick-off 3.30pm), where a win will see them gaining a the upper hand of making it into the quarter-finals of the competition, depending on how TP Mazembe fare in their encounter Horoya AC in DR Congo.

The absence of Alexander means Benfica midfielder, Thabo Cele, will be given a head start in that role again after impressing in their 2-0 victory over Botswana on Tuesday.

Former Bafana goalkeeper Brian Baloyi, who’s now Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach, said he was pleased with the drastic improvement Bafana made following their 1-0 defeat by Tanzania in the Cosafa Cup quarter-finals.

Baloyi stated that it was quite unfortunate that Bafana couldn’t defend their Cosafa Cup title, but he added that a win in the Plate final would do the new generation of Bafana players good.

“It was just unfortunate that they couldn’t go all the way to defend the Cosafa Cup title,” Baloyi said. “But what impressed me the most is that they were able to pick themselves up and produce a stunning 2-0 result against Botswana in the Plate semis. They played with more confidence on the ball in that match.

“In the next match, it will depend on whether the coach wants to make changes or not, but I would suggest that he doesn’t. The previous group of players he introduced in that semi-final played more as a unit (compared to the first). He had made seven changes in that squad and they ended up winning that encounter

“Playing Namibia in the final is going to be tough,” Baloyi added. “They also want it and I wish our boys all the best of luck for this match.”

Meanwhile, Baloyi heaped praises on his reserve side's shot-stopper Bruce Bvuma. He said the young goalkeeper handled himself well in his debut appearance for Bafana with his clean sheet.

“He just has to keep on working really hard,” said the proud Baloyi. “I told him that goalkeeping demanded more mental strength than the physical aspect of the game from a player. If you are mentally weak and don’t believe that you are going to do well for your team, then you are going to manifest that out there on the pitch.”

The Star

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