COSAFA Mkhalele proud of Bafana Bafana players despite COSAFA Cup exit

Coach Helman Mkhalele’s youthful South African men’s national team beat Eswatini at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium but could not progress to the semifinals of the COSAFA Cup.

The team led by Bafana Bafana assistant coach Helman Mkhalele won 1-0 courtesy of an early goal from Thabang Sibanyoni in the third minute, but missed out on a spot in the knockout round after finishing second with five points behind leaders Mozambique in Group A.

The tournament rules state that the three group winners and the best-placed second team advance to the semifinals. The main objective of participating in the regional event is to develop a larger pool of players and further SAFA’s long-term vision, and Mkhalele said he was proud of his players.

He added that they played a good game against Eswatini, even though they did not make it to the knockout stage.“I am proud of the effort, the character and the humility of these boys. I’m really proud of them,” he said after the match.

The Bafana Bafana assistant coach said his youthful side learnt some important lessons in the matches they played against Mozambique, Botswana and Eswatini. “I would say as the technical staff, I am quite happy with some of the boys that I have seen here, that I believe raised their hands in the three games in terms of getting closer to the senior Bafana Bafana team that plays in the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers (under head coach Hugo Broos).

“They raised their hands, and I am quite happy because this tournament will go a long way in us knowing that there are players we identified here who can step in.”

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with

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