South Africa national soccer team coach, Stuart Baxter, has put his trust in youth when he announced his preliminary list of 34 players today (03 May) who will be vying for consideration into the final team for the upcoming 2018 COSAFA Cup tournament set to be staged in Limpopo province.
Baxter will then trim the squad further with the announcement of the final 20 players expected to be made on Thursday, 17 May.
The final 20 Bafana Bafana players will then converge in Polokwane on 26 May as they prepare to do battle to claim a fifth COSAFA Cup for SA. The tournament runs 27 May to 9 June.
Most of the players who have made their way into Baxter’s squad are young. Names such as Maritzburg’s midfield workhorse, Siphesihle Ndhlovu, Orlando Pirates’ Thembinkosi Lorch as well as Kaizer Chiefs’ Ryan Moon, who have all done well this season, have found their way into the Bafana Bafana coach’s heart.
Other notable players who have been afforded a chance to prove their worth to the Bafana cause include Motjeka Madisha of Mamelodi Sundowns, Mothobi Mvala of Highlands Park, Lebohang Maboe of Maritzburg United, Sibusiso Mabiliso of Amazulu, Siyabonga Ngezana of Kaizer Chiefs, among others.
Hosts, South Africa, defending champions, Zimbabwe as well as Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland have byes in the first round and will only join the action in the quarter final stage. Bafana Bafana will face Group A winners on 2 June at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium while Zimbabwe will lock horns with Group B winners at the same venue the following day.
In the other quarter final matches, Namibia will have to beat Zambia at Old Peter Mokaba on 2 June if they fancy their chances of progressing to the semi-finals. Lesotho and Swaziland will battle it out for the final semi-final spot on 3 June at the same venue.
The matches will be played at three venues – Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, Seshego Stadium as well as the New Peter Mokaba Stadium.
The final will take place on Sunday, 9 June.
Bafana Bafana Preliminary Squad:
Bruce BVUMA (Kaizer Chiefs); Reyaad PIETERSE (Supersport United); Brandon PETERSEN (Ajax Cape Town )
Reeve FROSLER (Bidvest Wits); Grant KEKANA (Supersport United); Siyabonga NGEZANA (Kaizer Chiefs); Motjeka MADISHA (Mamelodi Sundown); Siyanda XULU (Maritzburg United); Taariq FIELIES (Cape Town City); Innocent MAELA (Orlando Pirates); Musa LEBUSA (Ajax Cape Town); Sibusiso MABILISO (Amazulu); Paseka MAKO (Chippa United); Mothobi MVALA (Highlands Park)
Wiseman MEYIWA (Kaizer Chiefs); Siphesihle NDLOVU (Maritzburg United); Fortune MAKARINGE (Maritzburg United); Teboho MOKOENA (Supersport United); Goodman MOSELE (Baroka FC); Aubrey MODIBA (Supersport United); Jamie WEBBER (Supersport United); Thembinkosi LORCH (Orlando Pirates); Lebohang MABOE (Maritzburg United); Grant MARGEMAN (Ajax Cape Town); Siphelele NTSHANGASE (Kaizer Chiefs); Abednego MOSIATLHAGA (Bidvest Wits); Gift LINKS (Alassiouty Sport FC -Egypt); Phakamani MAHLAMBI (AL Ahly FC -Egypt); Vincent PULE (Bidvest Wits)
Gift MOTUPA (Baroka FC); Lyle FOSTER (Orlando Pirates); Ryan MOON (Kaizer Chiefs); Luther SINGH (SC Braga B FC -Portugal); Lebo MOTHIBA (Lille FC -France)