Titus, Rhodes’ big chance to shine at Cosafa Cup

Teko Modise began his Bafana Bafana career in the Cosafa Cup. | BackpagePix

Teko Modise began his Bafana Bafana career in the Cosafa Cup. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 25, 2024



Several former Bafana Bafana coaches, including Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira, used the Cosafa Cup tournament as a springboard to blood future talents for the national side.

Parreira discovered star players, such as Teko Modise and Kagisho Dikgacoi, who became regular internationals from 2008 onwards after playing in the 2007 event.

Modise, nicknamed ‘The General’, was brilliant at the 2007 Cosafa Cup after making his international debut against Malawi in the same tournament. He helped Bafana Bafana to reach the final and scored the winning penalty in the shoot-out against Zambia. He was named ‘Player of the Tournament’.

He played in the 2010 World Cup and won several major trophies with Mamelodi Sundowns. Eventually, he played over 300 Premiership matches.

Dikgacoi’s first national call-up, at the age of 23, was for a 2007 Cosafa Cup match against Mauritius. The following year, he scored for South Africa for the first time and was part of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations squad.

Later, he played in the English Premiership for Crystal Palace and became a fixture in the Selhurst Park-based side, earning over 100 caps. The current Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos stands down for Cosafa Cup tournaments, and this year his assistant Helman Mkhalele will mentor the side.

Mkhalele is the sole selector for the squad that will do duty for the 2024 showpiece, starting tomorrow at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. His 23-man selection for the tournament includes three players who could use the tournament as a springboard for future Bafana Bafana selections.

Jaedin Rhodes of Cape Town City. | BackpagePix

Jaedin Rhodes

The City attacking midfielder has become indispensable for his side, and his coach Eric Tinkler said he is one player he cannot afford to drop. This season, the 21-year-old Rhodes has scored five goals and has three assists in 31 games.

His impressive performances have made him a Mamelodi Sundowns transfer target. Tinkler says Rhodes is an out-and-out professional and works hard at his game. He has a strong football mentality and leads from the front when the team needs to recover from setbacks. He is blessed with incredible creativity on the ball and creates scoring situations when gaps open up the opposition’s defence.

Devin Titus of Stellenbosch FC. | BackpagePix

Devin Titus

Titus earned the most prestigious individual accolade of his career after winning the inaugural Carling Knockout Player of the Tournament award on Sunday evening. He helped Stellenbosch FC win the Carling Knockout trophy, and his efforts also saw Stellies claim a third-place finish in the DStv Premiership.

To highlight Titus’ impressive season, he was nominated for the Nedbank Cup Most Promising Player of the Season and DStv Premiership Midfielder of the Season gongs but missed out on both.

Fuelled by a winning mentality, the 24-year-old Titus has shown consistent form, and his coach Steve Barker always praised his work ethic. One of his gifts is that he is a classy off-the-ball player and that has enabled him to record a host of assist plays this season.

Ethan Brooks of AmaZulu FC. | BackpagePix

Ethan Brooks

Of the three players, the 23-year-old midfielder Brooks has already been capped for the national team. He hasn’t been consistent and it cost him his place in the team. He has, on occasions, played very well, and this Cosafa Cup will give him a chance to impress Hugo Broos.

He can make excellent decisions when distributing the ball. He has silky ball control skills and is blessed with pinpoint passing ability. At one stage, the AmaZulu midfielder drew comparisons to Steven Pienaar, the Johannesburg-born star who played over 180 matches for Premiership outfit Everton. He can also be relied on to play in defence and will be one of the team leaders at the Cosafa Cup.

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