Mkhalele takes over Bafana and turns to fresh talent for Cosafa Cup

Bafana assistant coach Helman Mkhalele is back in charge of the team again. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bafana assistant coach Helman Mkhalele is back in charge of the team again. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix


Bafana Bafana assistant coach Helman Mkhalele has named a 23-man squad that will represent South Africa at this year’s Cosafa Cup tournament scheduled for Durban from July 5 to 17.Mkhalele stated that drawing up the final squad was not an easy process for both he and his technical staff, given the quality they had roped in for their preliminary squad.

The 52-year-old will guide Bafana as head coach Hugo Broos’ contract does not bind the Belgian to be in charge of the team in the regional tournament.

Bafana have received a bye in the opening stage of the tournament and will only join at the quarterfinal stage.

South Africa will face Mozambique on July 13.

“This was not an easy process to go through because everybody in the team showed the hunger and desire to be in the final squad. But, we are happy with the final 23 we have chosen. We have also made them aware of the expectations set to them going into this tournament and our first game against Mozambique.’’

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This will be the second time in a row that Bafana will be facing Mozambique at the same stage of the regional championships.

Bafana emerged 3-0 victors last year, en route to South Africa, beating tournament guests Senegal on penalties in the final.

Mkhalele, however, cautioned that Mozambique will come motivated to try and avenge last year’s defeat.

“When you go to any tournament as a coach, you need to make sure that you have selected players who have the right mindset, attitude and willingness to win.

“The first game against Mozambique is going to be crucial because this is a side we beat in last year’s edition en route to the final. They will go into this tie intending to avenge that defeat and we cannot let them. We are the defending champions and we intend to fight to defend our title.”

Mkhalele was supposed to have been in charge of Bafana for last year’s tournament but withdrew after he tested positive for Covid-19 and was swiftly replaced by Morena Ramoreboli, who was the SA under-17 assistant coach. –

Bafana squad

Goalkeepers: Lincoln Vyver (Cape Town Spurs), Olwethu Mzimela (AmaZulu), Lebohang Nthene (Stellenbosch)

Defenders: Athenkosi Mcaba (Stellenbosch) Sbonele Cele (Golden Arrows), Macbeth Mahlangu, (TS Galaxy), Keegan Johannes (SuperSport United), Zuko Madunyelwa (Chippa United), Siyanda Msani (University of Pretoria), Khulekani Shezi (Royal AM)

Midfielders: Jayden Adams (Stellenbosch), Ethan Brooks (AmaZulu), Sydney Malivha, Dan Ndlhovu (both Baroka), Selaelo Rasebotja, Thapelo Maseko (both SuperSport United), Rowan Human (Maritzburg United), Chumani Busaka (Cape Town Spurs)

Forwards: Azola Matrose (Orlando Pirates), Antonio van Wyk (Stellenbosch), Keletso Sifama (Kaizer Chiefs), Boitumelo Radiopane (Cape Town Spurs), Katlego Mashigo (Portadown)