Cosafa Cup: Orlando Pirates' Pule back in Bafana Bafana squad, Kaizer Chiefs' Mashiane receives debut call-up

Vincent Pule Bafana Bafana v Libya, September 2018Backpagepix

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma headlines Bafana Bafana’s 20-man squad for the 2021 Cosafa Cup tournament.

Bvuma is arguably the most experienced player in the team which will do duty at the 20th edition of the regional competition to be staged in Gqeberha from July 6 to 18.

Bafana will be led by assistant coach Helkman Mkhalele who will be helped by national Under-17 head coach Vela Khumalo as South Africa bid for a sixth title having last been crowned Cosafa champions in 2016.

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South Africa are in Group A with Lesotho, Eswatini and Botswana.

“The objective is to win the Cosafa Cup and that will help us with our preparations for the World Cup qualifiers,” Mkhalele told the media.

The squad to be led by Mkhalele is wholly composed of Premier Soccer League players and none of them is above the age of 30.

About half of the squad is made up of those selected into the senior national team for the first time ever including Golden Arrows goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana, SuperSport United defender Keenan Phillips, Mashweu Mphahlele of Baroka FC and his teammate Goodman Mosele as well as Bloemfontein Celtic left-back Sifiso Ngobeni.

Swallows FC midfielder Kgaogelo Sekgota, Black Leopards’ Tiklas Thutlwa, Happy Mashiane of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates forward Tshegofatso Mabasa have also received debut call-ups.

Pirates’ Vincent Pule is back into the national team and will be one of the experienced players.

From the squad which faced Uganda in an international friendly match earlier this month, the likes of Rushine De Reuck, Denwin Farmer, Njabulo Ngcobo, Sphelele Mkhulise, Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Ethan Brooks have been retained.

Bafana open their Cosafa campaign against Botswana on July 6 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, before taking on Eswatini at Isaac Wolfson Stadium three days later.

They then return to Nelson Mandela Bay to conclude their group fixtures against Lesotho on July 13. 

Bafana squad

Goalkeepers: Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs), Sifiso Mlungwana (Golden Arrows)

Defenders: Rushine De Reuck (Mamelodi Sundowns), Denwin Farmer (Baroka FC), Siyabonga Ngezana (Kaizer Chiefs), Njabulo Ngcobo (Swallows FC), Keenan Phillips (SuperSport United), Mashweu Mphahlele (Baroka FC), Sifiso Ngobeni (Bloemfontein Celtic), Bongani Sam (Orlando Pirates)

Midfielders: Sphelele Mkhulise (Mamelodi Sundowns), Ethan Brooks (TS Galaxy), Siyethemba Sithebe (AmaZulu FC), Kgaogelo Sekgota (Swallows FC), Tiklas Thutlwa (Black Leopards), Happy Mashiane (Kaizer Chiefs), Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates)

Strikers: Tshegofatso Mabasa (Orlando Pirates), Goodman Mosele (Baroka FC), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (Maritzburg United)