29 June 2017Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter says the COSAFA Cup and the CHAN tournaments should be used to the benefit of the national teams.

Baxter has selected 20 players for the COSAFA CUP with an average age of 22,6 – none of them regulars in the Senior Men’s National Team.

“The strategy this time around is to invest time and experience for the players that are going to go on and have international experience. Moving forward we should do things similar to the way the Germans are doing in the FIFA Confederations Cup where they have only about three or four senior players supporting a group of U21s,” said Baxter.

Only four of the players are above the age of 25 years: (Boalefa Pule, 27; Mario Booysen, 29; Aubrey Ngoma, 28, Mohau Mokase, 26).

Two of the players in the squad played in the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile, one in the 2009 FIFA U20 World Cup while six featured in the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup.

“We have picked a team for the COSAFA CUP with an average age of 22,6 with some of the younger interesting players from the base of the U20 National Team that went to the World Cup in Korea. That way, we will make sure that the young talent is nurtured from young age until they graduate into the senior national team. That is how we intend to reinforce the Vision 2022 blueprint.”

Amajita captain and defender Tercious Malepe, as well as striker, Judas Moseamedi are the only two players that won the 2016 edition of the COSAFA Cup.

Mothobi Mvala is the only player who was in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“The competitiveness is not the vital element in all of this. As I said, the investment of time and international experience in players who will be future internationals is the main thing. This will serve the country better and again will broaden our talent base,” added Baxter.

“I am positive that at the end of the tournament we will have a clear indication of where we are and what more we need to do going forward, but we have a good group of youngsters and that augurs well for the future of South African football. Once again, when Bafana Bafana go into any match, we intend to compete and give it our all. This is what Bafana Bafana fans will see during this COSAFA CUP tournament.”

He adds that this project will not work without the buy-in from everyone.

“We need all hands on deck, and if we can all stay positive, we will go far because support is going to be very crucial,” concluded Baxter.

South Africa will join the competition in the quarterfinals when they face the winner of Group A on Sunday, 2 July at Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Kickoff is at 17h00.