4 October 2022 – South African Under-20 coach Vela Khumalo is pleased with the way his players applied themselves during a training camp held in the south of Johannesburg recently.

The camp was intended to give the team time to prepare for the COSAFA Qualifier Tournament for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt next year and Khumalo says they achieved the objective during the 10 days spent at the South African Football Association (SAFA) National Technical Centre. The COSAFA Under-20 tournament will be held in Eswatini from October 7-16.

“One can say it has been hectic in the camp, it was a bit short notice and one can understand that some of the players we wanted were not released by the clubs,” Khumalo said.

“But we are not complaining and we will make do with what we have.”

The South African Under-20s will reconvene in Johannesburg on Wednesday October 5 and then depart to Swaziland on the same day.

They face Malawi in their opening match of the tournament in Eswatini on Saturday 8 October.

Khumalo says while he did not have all the players he wanted in the camp, he was happy to work with those that were able to make it to the SAFA National Technical Centre.

“One will say ‘let us soldier on’, it is the name of the game and we know how these things work. We need to get past this hurdle [at the COSAFA Qualifier Tournament] and qualify for the AFCON in Egypt next year, then I will be happy. It is the plan and it will help us forget about all the challenges we had to face.”