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Although Bafana coach Gordon Igesund made it clear he is not the U-23 coach, Ntuli writes that his stance needs to change in future friendlies

There is no doubt that a nation that does not invest in their youth has no future. With many of Igesund's trusted Bafana players being injured, and with clubs likely to let only a few participate in this tournament, this might be a blessing in disguise for the nation.

Experience is gained only when given the opportunity and that is exactly what the young players deserve, after they impressed in the Premier Soccer League last season.

As much as there might be pressure on the national team to do well in this tournament following their defeat against Ethiopia, we must also look at the long run.

Some of the players who need to be given a fair chance, which they really deserve, include SuperSport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams. He has been in superb form for SuperSport and there is no doubt that the experience he gained whilst his team was playing in Africa has added value to his career.

Who would forget the hard working talented Free State Stars player Luvuyo Nomandela who attracted deals from big clubs in the PSL and overseas as well?

KwaZulu-Natal based players Khulekani Madondo who has been a pillar in AmaZulu's midfield and also Golden Arrows sensation Musa Bilankulu all deserve an opportunity to gain confidence and play for the national team.

Other players that Igesund should consider giving a chance, shall he not get his first choice players, are the likes of Thabani Mthembu of Platinum Stars and Ruzaigh Gamildien of Bloemfontein Celtic.

For the Cosafa Cup, Igesund has less stress on his shoulders as the team potentially has been given an easier path into the semi-finals. Equatorial Guinea announced last week that they will not be taking part in this tournament because of financial constraints. Even though Nigeria has a good squad, our focus should be on the future since the all-important Ethiopia battle is now over.

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