Thabo Senong has backed the current Bafana Bafana squad to do well in the Cosafa Cup, where they’ll play in the quarter-finals today (3pm kick-off) against Madagascar at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
The squad comprises a number of Under-23 players, which gives fresh blood an opportunity in the senior team.
There are also three Under-20 players – Wiseman Meyiwa, Lyle Foster and Khulekani Kubheka.
“I’m obviously happy that some of our (Amajita) boys are in the team,’’ Senong, said. “It shows that there’s some good work that has been done at Amajita. Our job is just to prepare players for professional football, so that they can play for their respective clubs in the Absa Premiership but also push them to the Under-23 national Olympic team. But for them to even move quicker to Bafana Bafana, that excites us and we wish them well.
“A big thank you to coach Stuart Baxter for giving Meyiwa, Kubheka and Foster a chance with the senior team. This shows that there’s a relationship between all coaches in the national ranks.’’
Bafana Bafana have been hard at training in Limpopo as they are hoping to prevent the embarrassment of being knocked out of the quarter-finals twice in a row. However, there’s hope that they’ll do well in the competition especially considering the fact that they are led by the Premier Soccer League’s best defender Siyanda Xulu, while the league’s midfielder of the season Siphesihle Ndlovu is also in the mix.
The Soweto-born coach reckons that this competition will be a breeding ground for a good many upcoming youngsters.
“We have a good team and we just need to get the chemistry right and geI together as a unit. I have no doubt that they’ll do well,’’ he said. “They’ve worked hard preparing for the Cup, I wish them well, and I know they won’t disappoint. The objective is to give young players exposure; it’s a development tournament and whoever does well can consider themselves winners.’’
Meanwhile Senong and his charges – Amajita - are two matches away from qualifying for the 2019 Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations in Niger. They’ll face Malawi over a two-legged encounter in July in the final round.
“For us the qualifiers are still very important, and Malawi are tough,’’ Senong said.
“We’ll camp early next month, and have a friendly before the official match. At the moment we’ve given players individual programs during the off-season so that they can keep fit. There’s a bit of cross-training too to ensure they’re in top shape..’’@Mihlalibaleka