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Bafana Announce Starting XI For Cosafa Cup Final

Bafana Bafana have named their starting XI for today’s Cosafa Cup against African giants Senegal in Gqeberha.

After a difficult start to the tournament, where the club lost Helman Mkhalele as he tested positive for Covid-19, and at one point the squad had just 14 players, Bafana managed to ride the wave, as Morena Ramoreboli stepped up to fulfil the coaching role.

Bafana assistant Mkhalele was set to lead the club at the Cosafa Cup, with Belgian coach Hugo Broos and first assistant Cedomir Janevski only returning to the country this month as they prepare for the World Cup qualifiers.

Ramoreboli was joined by U17 coach Vela Khumalo later on in the tournament, and while rookies at senior international level, the hastily gathered technical team should be commended for the work they’ve done.

After winning their first two group games against Botswana and eSwatini 1-0, they thumped Lesotho 4-0 to ensure their qualification for the semi-finals. They ended the group by drawing 0-0 in the dead rubber against Zambia.

In the semi-final against Mozambique Bafana sailed through to the final, winning 3-0 to book their spot in today’s game.

There have been a few standout performances in this tournament, most notably from Victor Letsoalo, who became the first South African to score a hat trick on debut (against Lesotho) and his goal in the semi-final made him the record goal scorer for Bafana at a single Cosafa Cup.

Captain Veli Mothwa has kept four clean sheets so far (Lincoln Vyver also kept a clean sheet), and Bafana are yet to concede a goal in this tournament.

And players like Rushine De Reuck, Austin Dube, Njabulo Ngcobo, Yusuf Maart, Siyethemba Sithebe, Ethan Brooks, Sifiso Ngobeni, Nyiko Mobbie and Monnapule Saleng have all impressed at times.

The young Senegalese team has had to fight to reach the final, after losing to Namibia in the group stages, but two wins and two draws were enough for them to get through to the semi-final. In Friday’s match they bounced back against 10-man eSwatini, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to force a 2-2 draw, before winning a penalty shootout.

eSwatini bounced back in Sunday’s 3rd/4th playoffs, beating Mozambique in a penalty shootout after the match had ended 1-1 in regulation time.

How they line-up:

Bafana Bafana XI: Mothwa, Mobbie, Ngobeni, Ngcobo, Dube, De Reuck, Maart, Sithebe, Mkhulise, Saleng, Letsoalo

Subs: Vyver, Konqobe, Sibanyoni, Mphahlele, Maboe, Malinga, Brooks, Sibiya

Senegal XI: Ndiaye, Kane, Sane, Gningue, Diene, Mendy, Ba, Djitte, Diop, Kante, Fall